39-year-old Iowa mother Teri Pallat was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat earlier this week after making threats on Facebook on behalf of her son, a 15-year-old boy with epilepsy who was being bullied at school. Pallat posted this message on her wall:
“And they asked why do people shoot up schools well this is exactly why and when our son does it cause I know he will they have nobody to Blame but the administration and I promise everyone he will only get the ones that caused this. He is an excellent marks men.”
The school contacted law enforcement shortly after Pallat posted it, and she took it down. However, she was arrested, and is now out of jail on bond. Pallat says that she has reported her son’s bullying to school officials repeatedly without any action being taken, and that the message was the result of her frustrations boiling over. Because of her threatening message, her son has been expelled from school.
Pallat’s frustrations are understandable, but she now faces a maximum five-year prison sentence for making terroristic threats and another possible two-year sentence for harassment. Using Facebook to vent your anger can be a tempting release, but it’s important to understand that things you post on the site can take on a life of their own. Within seconds of posting something, hundreds of people can see it. Even if you don’t mean what you write, think about how it can be construed by others. Taking a step back before you post something is a great way to avoid unfortunate situations like this one.