CHICAGO (CBS) — A picture of a young person holding a gun, and altered along the way on social media, has caused a stir at a north suburban school district.
Skokie police said that what started out as an 8th grade student Snapchatting to friends a picture of himself practicing shooting a BB gun in a backyard, while supervised by his father, ended up with someone else tagging the picture with the words “School Shooter” and continuing to spread around the picture on the Instagram. WBBM’s Bernie Tafoya reports.
“There’s no threat to anybody in the community or the school, as this just took on a life of its own,” according to Skokie Police Commander David Pawlak.
Cmdr. Pawlak said an investigation determined the boy from Skokie School District 73.5 did not tag his photo with the threatening words. Police are still trying to figure out who did.
Pawlak said this should serve as a warning that, if you put a picture on the Internet, “it’s going to live forever and unfortunately, once you put it out there, you can’t control what anybody else does to it.”
Skokie School District 73.5 put out an email to parents on Sunday about the incident. In it, officials expressed concern that the doctored picture had received dozens of ‘likes’ on Instagram and that there were some students from McCracken Middle School who ‘liked’ or commented on it.
The email said school officials are also concerned about the “number of students who saw or even ‘liked’ this alarming content and did not report it.”
Skokie police said a girl who had seen the picture online notified her parent who called police.
The school district asks parents to “continue to speak with your children at home about how to use online tools in responsible and positive ways, monitor their online behavior and immediately report any instances of unsafe or inappropriate content to the Skokie Police Department.”
The district adds that, “while matters of student discipline are confidential and pending in this case, please know that the student who posted the photograph and corresponding comment will not be in attendance at school on Monday.
The email asks parents to talk to their children about the kind of things they post online.
“I’m sure we can all agree that we do not want our children thinking that posting these kinds of messages is appropriate, ‘funny’, harmless or ‘joking around’.”