This morning, McKinney Boyd High School Principal Rick McDaniel posted a brief note on Facebook alerting parents that a student had made unspecified "threatening statements" on the social networking site and had been arrested by McKinney Police.(Update at 1:50 p.m.: The post in question has been removed from the page).
"As always, student safety is our number one priority and such comments, whether sincere or as a joke, will not be tolerated and the District will prosecute to the fullest extent that the law allows," he wrote.
Reports of the arrest quickly blanketed local media, as any story involving a threatened mass shooting, public education, and social media is apt to do. But a more nuanced portrait of events is being fleshed out in comments on the high school's Facebook page.
The unidentified student, a juvenile, is described by commenters as a victim of relentless bullying.
"Well, lemme just bring you up to speed," writes one Mitch Anderson. "This kid is an autistic, gay atheist. He was bullied at school day in, and day out, and I suppose he finally snapped. He started posting and commenting, saying he was going to kill people, and eventually himself tomorrow at school."
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Another commenter, Stèph Anne Emond, backs Anderson up.
The kid has been bullied constantly at the school for many different reasons. When his bullied most of the school turns there head and doesn't "see" anything because of the way society is nowadays. The school doesn't take action because the student is homosexual & He is in fact autistic and has turrets. He was born different and he doesn't have a filter he says what is on his mind. He was pointing out the flaws in the school and to draw attention to them. So please take all information in to account before you start making judgments.
That doesn't excuse threats of violence, as many other commenters point out, but it does add another dimension to the story and raise the question of whether McKinney Boyd administrators did enough to protect the student from bullying.
The school district says yes. Spokesman Cody Cunningham told NBC 5 that there had been reports that the student had been bullied but that "we're not going to use bullying as a way to rationalize this type of behavior."