Teenagers do a lot of things without thinking through the possible consequences of their actions, including posting to social media. Two high school students from Lawrence County, Ohio, learned this the hard way after they were arrested last week and charged with serious crimes.
The arrests were made after investigators said “alarming material” was posted on Instagram, it was reported. The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of the posts by Fairland School District officials and an investigation immediately ensued.
Search warrants were executed at two residences in Proctorville. The 18-year-olds, who are currently enrolled at Fairland High School, apparently live in one of the residences together, though the teens are not related.
According to the sheriff, many items were seized during the investigation, including media devices and storage, computers, cellphones, weapons, ammunition, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and letters and notebooks.
One of the teens was charged with inducing panic, a felony, and the other teen was charged with drug trafficking, apparently relating to marijuana that was found.
One of the teens’ mothers told a local news crew that she thinks the authorities are making a bigger deal out of the social media posts than necessary, and that the two were just playing around in the posts -- many of which included guns and references to murder.
One thing that’s for sure is that the teens and their parents need to take the allegations extremely seriously. Because they are 18 they can be charged as adults and could face years in prison if found guilty.
Both of the teens’ futures are in jeopardy, so they will each need an experienced defense lawyer to represent their rights and interests.
The situation also serves as a reminder for parents to talk to their teens about appropriate social media usage. Even posts that are made in a joking manner can have serious implications.