Chesapeake, Va .- Brett and Colleen Johnson found their 13-year-old daughter’s name at the top of a school “hit list” on Facebook last week.
“They were going to kill the students, they were going to cut them open, they were going to take their insides out and place bombs in them,” Colleen explained.
The couple shared their story only with NewsChannel 3’s Jackie Morlock.
The Johnsons say they want everyone to realize the seriousness of the threats made to their daughter and the 10 other students on that list.
“We don’t believe that this type of activity, these types of threats are typical middle school banter and shouldn’t be something that we brush aside in today’s society where we have so many instances of violence in schools,” said Brett.
Last Thursday, the family says, their daughter and two other students at Hickory Middle School received threatening messages through the smartphone app, Kik.
Then, on Friday they say it escalated to 11 students being called out in a “hit list” on Facebook along with several threatening messages.
“She was terrified. She was scared and she wanted it to stop,” said Colleen. “But, she didn’t coward; she didn’t take a step back, she actually took a leadership step and said this isn’t right,” Brett continued.
The Johnsons say their daughter snapped screenshots of the Kik app conversation as well as the Facebook posts and went straight to school officials prompting a police investigation.
Chesapeake police confirmed the person behind the threats is a student.
But, because that student is a minor their identity hasn’t been made public.
“We are able to prosecute and so we have expressed that we will be doing that,” Colleen said.
While the couple says school officials took action to remove the immediate threat, they’re now focused on the overall problem of cyber bullying. And, they hope by sharing their story it’s the first of many steps in bringing about change.
“These are very new crimes that are being committed and something needs to be done,” Colleen told NewsChannel 3. Her husband added, “Create not only support groups for children who have been bullied but also to start educating not only the kids but also parents.”
School officials say disciplinary action has been taken but wouldn’t give a further explanation.