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New York students threatened in online ‘hit list’
Site creator protected by First Amendment
New York parents are demanding a teen to be thrown out of school after he threatened to pick off fellow students via an online "hit list".
The 13-year-old boy named 36 students on his site that he planned to "attack when it gets warmer", Newsday.com reported.
One reason given on the site for hating his classmates was if they were a "goody-goody".
After initially getting a two-day suspension for the action, has was later ordered to stay away from the John F Kennedy Middle School until a police investigation and disciplinary hearing were completed.
But it is unlikely that the teen will face criminal charges. Because he did not send the threats personally (such as via email), but posted them in public, he is covered under the First Amendment's freedom of speech rights.
Parents, called to a meeting at the school yesterday, are demanding that the boy to be expelled.
Police said the boy, an honours student, and his family had been "extremely cooperative" with detectives. They said they didn't think he had access to any weapons and decided not to confiscate his computer.
"It seems like he is an honour student, a very good student who seems to have made a big mistake," said Nassau Det Capt Carolyn Laibach, the commanding officer of the Juvenile Aid Bureau. The police are recommending counselling for the boy.
Parents of the kids involved said they were upset by the site, which has since been removed, but said the school was doing everything it could.
"I'm feeling much more comfortable now that I know it's out in the open, and maybe this kid will get the help he needs," said one.
It was a different story on local TV last night - parents told reporters for the WB11 station they were worried about their children's safety, with students outside the school saying were scared of a repeat of the Columbine shootings. ®