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Teen charged with terroristic threatening says it was just a joke

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Two teenagers are facing charges for terroristic threatening. Police say the teens made comments on social media against a Lexington high school. One of the teens accused is calling it all a joke, but police aren't laughing.

Bethany Dowell took to Facebook to explain her comment, a comment police are calling a serious threat against Tates Creek High School.

The 18-year-old voiced her concern on Facebook Monday night, saying "... There was a rumor going around that Tates Creek High School was gonna get shot up... So I was joking and made a status saying, '(Who's)... gonna shoot up Tates Creek High School? I'll help.' It was a joke."

"If you want to be a jokester there are plenty of things that you can joke about, but helping to facilitate a school shooting is not a joke. And it should never be something that you joke about," explained Sherelle Roberts with Lexington police, "we all as Americans have the right to say whatever we want, but that doesn't mean it's always free of consequence."

They are charging Dowell and a juvenile with second degree terroristic threatening.

"Every threat has to be analyzed and taken seriously," explained attorney Brandi Lewis with firm Baldani Rowland and Richardson. She says administrators must keep a close eye on what they perceive as threats, but she questions calling what the 18-year-old posted on social media a serious, intentional threat.

"It's a specific threat as far as she says it's the school, but she doesn't give means by which she's gonna help do that or when so I don't think it's specific enough in this capacity and she also has the freedom of speech."


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