TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei American School (TAS) announced it would close on Monday (Dec. 13) after a racist message purportedly from a student threatening a school shooting was posted on social media.
On Sunday (Dec. 12), the school announced on its homepage that classes would be canceled the next day. The school later explained that classes were suspended because the social media account of a 15-year-old male student had threatened to shoot up the school Monday.
Message that appeared on TAS website on Dec.12. (Taipei American School screenshot)
After school officials were alerted to the message, they sent an email to parents that evening emphasizing that in order to ensure the safety of the students, the most prudent approach would be suspending classes for one day, with non-essential personnel prohibited from entering the campus. Approximately 30 police officers were dispatched to guard the perimeter of the school on Monday, and police established an instant contact mechanism with TAS, reported CNA.
Police officer guarding TAS entrance. (CNA photo)
The author of the message used a racial slur to express hatred of Black people and then warned "all my close friends" that he would carry out a school shooting the next morning:
"I hate n*****s I'm shooting up my school tomorrow in the morning so to all my close friends I'm warning you don't come to school."
Accompanied by a parent, the student who owns the social media account on Sunday evening went to the Shilin Precinct of the Taipei City Police Department to file a report. The student denied sending the message, claimed his account had been hacked, and said he wished to press charges against the perpetrators for Offenses Against Computer Security (妨害電腦使用罪), reported UDN.
Police standing guard outside TAS. (CNA photo)
As can be seen in a screenshot of the message, it appears to date back to two months ago. It only came to light now because a student discovered it in the memories feed, commented on it, and then reported it to authorities.
Prosecutors are investigating the incident as a case of threatening and endangering public safety (恐嚇危害公眾安全罪嫌). According to an initial investigation, there are signs of logging in from multiple IPs from overseas, including the U.S., Egypt, India, and other countries.
Police reminded the public that as long as the content of a message involves a threat to public safety and instills fear in the public, it constitutes a crime and is punishable by law, regardless of whether it is in the form of a letter, voice message, public announcement, or social media post.
Threatening message posted on social media. (Imgur photo)