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These Emojis could leave Virginia middle school student charged with crime

Posted at 9:56 AM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 10:03:44-05

FAIRFAX, Va. — Millions of emojis are texted, tweeted and used on Facebook every day. Some of those emojis can be used to threaten other people. A middle school student in Fairfax recently got in trouble for sending emojis — deemed threatening — via Instagram.

The messages included emojis like a gun, a bomb and a knife.

Eighth grader Olivia Womble, who attends Sidney Lanier Middle School where the incident happened, said she did not want to be a part of the online conversation.

“Kids on Instagram were getting like death threats, like using emojis. I think it was a skull and a bomb and a gun,” she said. “I blocked them, so I didn’t see their stuff, they couldn’t see mine.”

Womble’s mother, Melissa Batchelor, said the school system sent a letter to parents about the incident.

“So basically they just sent out an email and said there had been an incident at the middle school and that the administration was handling it,” Batchelor said.

The incident, which happened in the Fall, was being handled by the Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office who will determine what, if any, charges the student will face. The school system has not yet stated whether the student was suspended.