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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The Northside High School student arrested for making threats toward his school appeared in court Wednesday as his defense attorney urges parents to “warn their children of social media – take down Snapchat.”
Alexander Barefield, 17, was charged with making terroristic threats on social media Monday night. During his court appearance Wednesday, Barefield pled not guilty and was given a $10,000 bond and his case was bound over to superior court.
During his court appearance, the arresting officer testified that a concerned citizen reported the screenshot of Barefield’s social media post. The post was made on Snapchat and Instagram.
A screenshot of the message was shared that stated: “I’m shooting the [expletive] out of the school tomorrow don’t [expletive] come to Northside it won’t be the place to be.”
The complaining party stated, she was concerned about the post and wouldn’t be sending her children to school until she is certain it will be safe.
The arresting officer, Sgt. Jane Edenfield called the on-duty school security officer and informed him of the situation. Once they got in contact with the director of school security, they contacted Edenfield with Barefield’s address.
They arrived at Barefield’s home around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday and met with his mother. When she was told why police were there, she said that her son must have been joking. She then went to wake him up, and when addressed by the police, Barefield claimed his social media accounts were hacked.
Barefield then stated that his friend texted him at which time he deleted the post. The teen then confirmed his Snapchat username as “alex#67″ – the same Snapchat used on the threatening post.
Barefield later stated that he did not mean anything by the post and admitted that he did post it.” Barefield stated that he was not actually going to do anything. He does not have access to a firearm.
He also stated that he had been ‘picked on hard’ by fellow football players on the team. During the banquet, they snatched a football from him at a sports banquet held earlier that evening at Northside High.
Barefield’s attorney, Jennifer Curry, said that his parents are in shock and trying to figure out what happened.
“They are certainly sorting through all the details… what step do they (Barefield’s parents) take next,” Curry said. “But the biggest message they asked for me to convey to the everyone in the community really is to warn their children of social media – take down Snapchat. Kids unfortunately just seem to have too much time on their hands.”
Parents and students were notified about the message at 7 a.m. Tuesday, and no threats were uncovered.
Both police and school officials urge parents to talk to their students about what and how they post on social media.