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Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
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Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

WEEKI WACHEE — A 16-year-old was arrested Tuesday on allegations that she created a fake social media post threatening to shoot students at Weeki Wachee High School, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the 16-year-old told them she sent the threat so she could "get out of school."

The incident took place days after a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, that left 10 dead and at least 13 others injured.

The 16-year-old student made a fake Facebook account under the name "Katie Ann" and messaged her real account, according to the arrest report, saying: "I know you go to wwhs and coming to shoot up you and your friends so watch your back."

She showed the message to another student, deputies said, and to the school resource officer . The officer identified the computer address for the "Katie Ann" Facebook profile as coming from the Weeki Wachee student, according to the affidavit. The post also was shared on Snapchat.

The student admitted to creating and sharing the post, according to deputies. She was arrested on a felony charge of writing threats to kill or do great bodily injury, the report said, and taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Ocala. The student’s identity is being withheld by the Tampa Bay Times because of her age.

"Unfortunately, this is yet another example of a student committing a very serious crime, simply to avoid school," Hernando Sheriff Al Neinhuis said in a statement.

Central High School faced similar threats in March when a student made six false bomb threats to the school within a week. Neinhus recommended the 17-year-old be tried as an adult.

School districts across the country are seeing a slight rise in these types of threats, said Hernando County School District spokeswoman Karen Jordan. Some students seem to feel like they can hide on social media, she said.

"I don’t know truly what students are thinking when they do this," Jordan said.

Weeki Wachee High School Principal Troy LaBarbara said he would recommend the student be expelled.

Jordan said the district has been working with the Sheriff’s Office to warn students that any threatening message, serious or not, will be treated the same. Students will be punished by the school district and the legal system.

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