On August 15, Keegan Jarrett was sitting in the back seat of his friend’s car, feeling excited about an outfit he was planning to wear to school the next day. So he posted a selfie to Snapchat with the caption “You arent even prepared for tomorrow” followed by a smiling emoji with sunglasses. Within an hour, Jarrett says, friends started texting him to warn that people might take his post the wrong way and think he was threatening to do something to the school.
The previous school year, Jarrett had been forced to attend an alternative off-campus education program and serve three months on probation after being arrested in May 2018 for sharing a screenshot of a text message he had sent stating that he would “shoot the fucking school up.” Jarrett, now 16, says he was being sarcastic, though he and his parents admit that it was a dumb thing to say, and understand that it scared people. This time, Jarrett said nothing about hurting anyone, not even as a joke—he was discussing his outfit. Afterward, he sent messages to the principal and the principal’s daughter, who happened to be a classmate, insisting that his post wasn’t a threat and that he didn’t want people “freaking out.” Kids already treated him like an outcast due to the earlier incident, Jarrett would later tell police. Jarrett says he deleted the selfie from his Snapchat Story.
A couple of hours after he posted the Snap, sometime after 9 p.m., police officers arrived at Jarrett’s house in Oakwood, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. Someone had called 911, worried that Jarrett was making a threat against the school. “It could mean nothing and it could mean a lot,” the caller had said. The cops left his home shortly after arriving, once they’d spoken with Jarrett and his parents, who said they didn’t have any weapons in the house. A police report noted that Jarrett had appeared upset, but had been “friendly, respectful and cooperative.” Meanwhile, Oakwood City School District administrators sent a message to parents saying that they “don’t believe there is an existing threat,” but that the student who made the social-media post—Jarrett—wouldn’t be on campus the next day. Jarrett hasn’t been allowed in class since.