Ohio student faces expulsion over threatening Facebook post

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

JEFFERSON, Ohio — An Ohio high school student faces discipline and misdemeanor charges after making threats on Facebook he said were meant as a joke.

The threats of gun violence from Dakota James Manzi, 18, left administrators “shocked.” The student, who claimed the threats he made via social media were meant in jest, faces a charge of inducing panic and could also be expelled from the school.

The Ashtabula County Sheriff’s office charged Manzi, of Jefferson, with one first-degree misdemeanor count of inducing panic Monday after he made a Facebook comment about opening fire at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus.

Manzi was jailed Monday and interviewed by sheriff’s deputies. He told deputies that his comment was meant as a joke and he “would never hurt anybody,” according to the report.

Manzi also told deputies that while there are guns in his home, they are locked in a gun safe and he does not have access to them. He allowed deputies to search the cell phone from which he operates multiple social media accounts. They found no further evidence of violent threats, the report states.

“I explained to Manzi that all threats of this nature are taken seriously and are not anything to joke about,” the deputy stated in the report, obtained by the Ashtabula Star Beacon.

Administrators were tipped off by an anonymous email sent to Jefferson Area Superintendent John Montanaro, which directed them to the post in question. Montanaro informed the county sheriff’s department.

A-Tech Principal Paul Brockett said he was “shocked” when he first learned of Manzi’s threat because while he said he knows the student, it is “not from a discipline side.”

According to the A-Tech student code of conduct, Manzi could face a variety of disciplinary actions, including expulsion from the campus.

“Even with this, I have no reason to believe there is any threat or danger to the students in the school,” Brockett said.

Dennis writes for the Ashtabula (Ohio) Star Beacon.