Officials investigating social media threat against Phillip O. Berry Academy

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is investigating a social media threat.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A threat made Wednesday on social media against Phillip O. Berry Academy in Charlotte comes in the wake of many others in the Carolinas and across the country already this school year.

In the age of social media, it’s easier than ever to make a threat and for that threat to spread like wildfire.

For some students, it may seem like a joke, but it could cost them.

“The traditional forms of threats still occur, they just occur electronically,” said Tim Cooper, spokesperson for York School District One. “They don’t feel like they’re going to get caught .”

Schools are legally required to notify local law enforcement if they discover a threat and vice versa.

“Threats are not an everyday occurrence but they are fairly common the last five or so years,” said Mark Bollinger with the Rock Hill Police Department.

Bollinger says the rising number of threats against schools is largely due to the prominence of social media.

And while most turn out not to be credible, the repercussions are serious.

“They may just be blowing off steam, but if they’re 17 or older, they could serve jail time,” Bollinger said. “A fit of 30 seconds of anger could cost you years ahead and a lot of students don’t think about that.”

And it’s not just your legal record that would take a hit.

“Because it's electronic; because it’s so easy to screen capture and attribute it to who started it,” Cooper explained. “It’s very easy for employers to find those issues, very easy for colleges to find it and make decisions based off that.”

If you see or hear anything suspicious, contact your local police department.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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