ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a case that stirred up a lot of a debate: a New Mexico mom charged for a Facebook post asking other parents about a school shooting threat.
Those charges have been dismissed and now she’s thinking of filing a lawsuit.
The Roswell mother was found guilty of creating a public nuisance for that post but in an appeal, a judge found that ruling unconstitutional and she’s not done fighting.
Jeanette Garza Alvarez took to social media in January warning Sierra Middle School parents after her son told her that he heard there was going to be a shootout at the school.
“The post read anyone else’s kids go to Sierra? My son says some eighth-graders are planning on bringing guns to school maybe Monday and have a shootout to see who’s the first to die.”
She went on to say that her son told her the school even made an announcement on the intercom about what to do if there were a shooting.
That post would land Alvarez with a charge for creating a public nuisance, for which she was found guilty back in April.
Alvarez and her attorney appealed and this month and a judge saw it their way.
“In fact, in the decision he came down harder on the school district for the way that they handled the situation and nothing about what Jeanette did,” said Luke Ragsdale, Alvarez’s attorney.
The Roswell Police Department, who charged Alvarez, released a statement saying they respect the court’s decision but wanted to remind everyone that Alvarez failed to call the police or the school when she learned of the possible threat.
Full statement from Roswell Police Department:
“While RPD respects the court’s authority to make its own finding on the necessity of the citation issued in this case, an important fact to be remembered is that a key action was missing in this situation. That action was for the concerned parent to call the police and the schools administration when she learned of the information about these potential threats being made. Unfortunately, that did not happen, leading to the parent posting on social media and creating unnecessary concern, which triggered unnecessary widespread reaction from other parents. Had the proper authorities been called before information was posted to Facebook, the parent could have been informed that RPD had already been notified of the threats, had investigated, and been able to solidly confirm the threats had no credibility and there was no intent by students to carry them out. It was nothing more than a few students making foolish statements. The Facebook post caused the situation to expand when it had already been deflated and should have remained that way.”
They said that the Facebook post created “unnecessary concern” over something that had already been investigated and proven to be a false alarm.
Alvarez’s attorney says they plan on suing the city for violating her rights and to clear her name.
“She had no criminal intent, she had no malice intent, all she was doing was trying to protect her son,” said Ragsdale.