Amty Tech Blog

Archive for July 2007

Internet posturing and bravado by gang-banger wannabes has run smack into zero tolerance of school officials.

Eight Belleville High School students were hauled before the school board last weekend to answer questions about photos posted on MySpace showing the kids claiming to be gang members posing with handguns, rifles, what looked like bags of marijuana and piles of money. One photo showing a student wearing body armor was captioned: “Better aim for my head.”

Two of the students were expelled, three were suspended for the rest of the school year, two received lesser suspensions and one was reinstated in school, said Superintendent Pete Lazaroff. The different punishments were based on what the students, whose names were not released, were doing in the photos, Lazaroff said.

Lazaroff said the photos — some of which linked to the school — are thought to be a challenge to another group.

The photos have been removed from the site.

No criminal charges will be filed because authorities couldn’t prove the guns and marijuana were real and it was difficult to tell where some of the photos were taken, raising questions about jurisdiction, said Ryan Bidwell, the Van Buren Township police officer assigned to the school.

Law enforcement has found very little gang activity in the suburbs, said Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel. Instead, suburban kids are more often gangster wannabes trying to be intimidating, Hackel said.

“Kids think it’s funny, they think it’s OK to do these things,” Hackel said. “It’s harassment, and it won’t be tolerated.”

Using the Internet to commit a crime is a criminal offense, carrying the same penalty as the underlying crime, Hackel said.

“They get caught, and they say they were kidding,” Hackel said.

The kid may strike tough guy poses, he said, “but the interesting thing is, once we get them in a room, 99% of them are crying.”




Blog Stats

  • 74,895 hits