Three 15-year-old boys have been suspended from Mountain View High School because of some threatening comments school officials said they posted on Facebook.
One of the students also faces criminal charges after authorities said they found an unassembled air-soft pellet gun in his possession.
"The student indicated that (the gun) was not related to the chatter on the social media site - that it was going to be a prop for a school project," said Gwinnett County Schools spokesman Jorge Quintana. "At the same time, that is something that obviously is not allowed on school campus, no matter the reason. Weapons are not allowed, or anything that can be used as a weapon is not allowed on school campus."
The school's principal Keith Chaney sent a letter to parents Tuesday informing them of the incident. Chaney wrote, "First, let me share with you precautions that were taken this morning in response to a potential threat that was reported by parents and several students. They expressed concerns that some of our students had shared plans on a social media site to carry out a violent act at the school."
The letter continued, "While it appears that the students involved did not have any intent to carry out the comments made on Facebook, we did take this situation very seriously as the postings were perceived to be threatening in nature."
On Wednesday morning, Kathy Grimes, who has a tenth-grade daughter at the school, said she's confident that the school handled the situation properly.
"Mr. Chaney's on top of things," said Grimes. "So concerned? Yes, but more sad than scared or anything else."
School officials are not identifying the ninth-grade boys. They are praising the parents and students who brought the matter to their attention.
Administrators said the incident is a reminder of the pervasive nature of social media.
"I think this is an excellent opportunity for us as parents to talk to our students or children about being responsible when using social media," said Quintana.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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