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Since the inaugural episode of Pretty Little Liars in 2010, the murder-mystery-thriller TV series has basically been an ongoing public service announcement about the dangers of cyberbullying.
For seven seasons, five teenage girls were stalked, threatened, and frightened by the anonymous “A.” The result? Friends were injured or actually murdered, and the girls lived in fear for years. Pretty Little Liars doesn’t exactly present an idyllic high school experience.
It appears that two teens in Ohio, however, were neither scared nor educated by the show and were instead inspired to mimic the actions of A.
A 15-year-old Piqua High School student created a Snapchat username that included the letter “A” to threaten to expose secrets of fellow students, according to local paper Piqua Daily Caller. At some point, the false rumors about the snaps by “A” indicated there was a threat to shoot up the school.
School officials investigated and placed the school at “low risk.” But on Thursday morning, a different teenage girl wrote on a bathroom wall, “I’m still going to shoot up the school. A.” Staff then canceled classes for the rest of the day.
Unlike the plot of Pretty Little Liars, police and school staff worked quickly to track down the culprits. The student responsible for creating the “A” Snapchat account will be charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and the student responsible for writing the threat from “A” to shoot the school faces felony charges for inducing panic.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.