Boy posts school shooting threat on Snapchat

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 21:19:22-04

Deputies tracked down an eighth grade boy accused of threatening to shoot up multiple schools on a Snapchat post.

The superintendent of Lakeside Union School District and the principal of Tierra Del Sol middle school confirmed to 10News that Tuesday night a former student of the school posted two Snapchats with text only. In the first snap he asked which school he should shoot and in the second he listed a few of the six schools he’s attended in the San Diego area in the past three years.

Parents like Kathryn Vanderstaay picked up their kids from Tierra Del Sol Middle School Friday with the threatening Snapchat post on their minds.

She discusses social media with her 12-year-old daughter Hailey.

“I have access to all of her internet, she knows if she finds anything in any way threatening she tells me or her father,” Vanderstaay said.

The boy posted the snaps to "my story." Those posts are accessible by all friends on the platform for 24 hours, then they disappear.

With private posts on Snapchat, snaps are sent to a specific user and disappear in seconds. Then there is an option to chat with the other user, but those conversations also disappear.

“It’s a little different than platforms like Facebook or Instagram where it’s easier to monitor those platforms because everything on those platforms is permanent,” explained social media strategist Cassandra Velez.

Velez is a manager at Brandetize in Banker's Hill. She says Snapchat growth since 2011 is impressive and most teens and young adults are now on the platform.

Most parents know to look out for activity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but Velez says the newest app teens are taking over is Periscope.

“It’s for live broadcasting similar to Facebook Live or like a real time Snapchat, but it’s just more video based, where they can send you videos and talk to people and see what they’re doing in a live format,” she explained. “So people can follow you around, you can comment on their video as they’re actually live broadcasting what they’re doing at that time.”

The platform could show viewers exactly where your teen is live, at that time.

Velez recommends creating your own accounts so you can follow your kids on each platform.

“It can be pretty challenging,” Vanderstaay said. “You’ve got to stay informed of it so you can watch what they’re doing and teach them about it.”

The district superintendent and principal told 10News, thanks to the girls who told him about the threat, deputies were able to apprehend that boy in about 90 minutes.