Valley Oak Elementary student arrested after threatening posts

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Valley Oak Elementary student arrested after threatening posts
Fresno Police have made an eighth arrest in three months for social media threats, this time a 12-year-old.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police say a 12-year-old girl is facing life-changing criminal charges after posting on Instagram, threatening to kill her classmates at Valley Oak Elementary School. The post prompted a massive police response and investigation Wednesday.

Detectives say the troublesome Instagram account was full of disturbing pictures. Among the posts about sex and pornography, it also contained a list of names that brought investigators and worried parents to campus.

"With social media, they think it's so cool, and it's just so stupid," said Sandy Zimmerman, who noticed the unusual police presence at the school.

Detectives say the 6th grader, fueled by boy troubles, warned her classmates to "watch out." She listed 19 names of classmates, including her own, and stated that they were all going to die.

"This is a perfect illustration of how an ignorant act by a 12-year-old girl cannot only create fear and disruption in the school but also cause her entire life to be impacted," said Chief Jerry Dyer.

Officers provided extra security Wednesday even after removing the girl from campus.

This is the city's 8th terroristic threat arrest since the Parkland shooting in Florida.

"It's not a joke, we're not interpreting it as a joke, nor is the district or the parents of the students," said Dyer.

The chief says, fortunately, none of the threats this year have been credible. Even though the suspect, in this case, was only in 6th grade, she's not young enough to escape the consequences.

"Every one of those individuals seems to be doing it in their sound mind. There were not any mental health issues associated with any of them," said Dyer.

Clovis Unified administrators say the district has doubled its efforts on social media education this year, providing resources especially for parents about the punishments and long-term consequences.