Emojis can pretty much be used to express any emotion or thought these days, but now, a 12-year-old girl is actually facing criminal charges for a message she sent using emojis. According to The Washington Post , the message was posted on Instagram by a middle-schooler in Fairfax, Virginia using another student’s name. It read, in part:
“meet me in the library Tuesday ? ? ?”
The use of the gun, knife, and bomb emoji resulted in the girl being charged with threatening her school and computer harassment, and she now awaits trial in juvenile court.
The U.S. court system is currently trying to figure out how seriously to take emojis when it comes to criminal cases and this case is only the most recent in a string of cases involving emojis. Last year, a New York City teen was charged with making a terrorist threat after posting a message on Facebook that read “N***a run up on me, he gunna get blown down ? ? ? ? “. A grand jury decided not to indict the teen on the charge. The Washington Post reports his lawyer, Fred Pratt, later explained to the police that “something is definitely lost in translation” and that when kids use emojis in this manner, it’s not meant to be taken seriously.
As for the 12-year-old girl in question, according to The Washington Post, her mother says her Insta comment was posted as a response to being bullied at school and wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. Even though a spokesman for Fairfax County schools said the threat was deemed “not credible,” the hearings are not open to the public, and it remains unclear whether the case has been settled or will go to court.