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New Mexico Mom Convicted for Facebook Post Sparking Panic

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on May 03, 2016 11:09 AM

If you are active on social media maybe you've developed a habit of just posting whatever pops into your head, or revealing the latest rumor you read. Don't do that. You could end up in front of a judge, charged, convicted, and with a criminal record, like a mother in New Mexico.

Jeanette Garza Alvarez posted on Facebook a few weeks back, according to Good Housekeeping. The problem with her post is that it was based on a rumor her 8th grade son told her that there would be a shootout at school, sparking a panic among parents and school administrators. The appropriate response would have been to call police and the school and let them know about the rumors, not change her status on social media.

What's on Your Mind

For those who don't know Facebook (yes, there are still some of you out there), the social media site allows people to post their "status" and asks, "What's on your mind?" On Alvarez's mind was an 8th grade shootout, which of course would sound scary to any parent.

The post read, "Anyone else's kids go to Sierra? My son says some 8th graders are planning on bringing guns to school maybe Monday and have a shootout to see who's the first to die."

Alvarez sparked a panic, and 160 students skipped school that day. Additionally, school administrators got more than 100 phone calls from concerned people. The concerned mother claimed that she was just trying to gather information from the community.

But the community didn't appreciate her efforts apparently. She was criminally charged with being a public nuisance, and convicted. Relatively speaking, she got off rather easy, with the judge sentencing Alvarez to a 30-day suspended sentence and a $29 fine.

"Her concern for her son's safety and for other students' safety was certainly understandable," Roswell Police spokesman Todd Wildermuth told local news station KRQE. "But what should have been done was to call the school, call the police department, let them know what she had heard."


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