Gun text case goes to judge

Patrick Yost News

A former Morgan County High School student arrested in March, 2018 after a text message she sent to six other students caused authorities to lock down Morgan County schools has been sentenced.

Tysheannia Nicole Alexander, 18, Madison pled guilty to six counts of terroristic threats, one count of harassing communications and one count of disrupting a public school on Oct. 15 in Morgan County Superior Court.

She was sentenced to three years probation and was fined $500.

Alexander was arrested one day after several students showed authorities a text message they had received that said “If you at school leave” and was followed by a gun emoji. The text message was sent less than a month after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 students and staff members and injuring 17 others.

At the time of the text, more than 20 police officers descended on Morgan County High School and secured the facility. Officers from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation all worked the threat.

The text message was sent to six students at 10:54 a.m. on March 16. A day later after investigators, including the United States Attorney General, served a search warrant to ‘Text Now,” an internet company that allows users to mask the origin of a text message, Alexander was arrested. According to published reports, the FBI used a digital communications expert in London who determined that, worldwide, ore than 4,000 Text Now users had been using the application at the approximate time the threatening texts were sent. Of those 4,000, one phone, that of Alexander, was used in Morgan County.

More than 250 students left school early the day of the threats and the Level II lockdown. During a Level II lockdown, teachers are instructed to lock doors, open all window shades and continue teaching. Staff and students are also forbidden from leaving the classroom.

At the time of the text messages, Morgan County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Woodard said the text messages and threat created “a major disruption” for the school system. “For the number of students, parents, and staff who were emotionally scarred on the heels of (the Parkland, Fla. shooting), this was too much,” he said.

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