New Jersey Teen Faces Jail Time After SoundCloud Rap Incites "False Public Alarm"
"They painted me as a school shooter, and that's terrifying"
Published Jun 12, 2018A New Jersey high school student is facing up to 10 years in jail after he was accused of threatening to attack a school in a rap song posted on SoundCloud days after the Parkland shooting.
As BuzzFeed News reports, 18-year-old Michael Schmitt uploaded a track titled "u lil sluts @ jchs i love u all even tho yall hurt me and i forgive u. i would never hurt u" to the platform in February of this year.
While Schmitt did not explicitly name anyone in the song, the inclusion of the initials of James Caldwell High School prompted authorities to get involved. A student who discovered the track showed his or her mother, who alerted a teacher, leading to a SWAT team combing the school's campus.
"A student associated with our school put a violent song on SoundCloud, which references killing somebody — shooting somebody in the head — and posts a picture of him with a gun, and made a connection to girls at our school," JCHS principal Jim Devlin told BuzzFeed News. "If you put all of that together, it does seem pretty threatening. At that point it's not my job to say, Is it credible? Is it not? We have to protect our students and families."
Schmitt, who was not at the school at the time of the SWAT team's arrival, was arrested for creating a "false public alarm." He is now under house arrest and facing trial over the track.
"They painted me as a school shooter, and that's terrifying," Schmitt told BuzzFeed News. "Whenever these school shootings are happening, it's scary to me that I'm being associated with that because of this rap song."
Schmitt's track included lyrics that state, "Pull my gun, kill your fuckin' head / Now you're dead, go to sleep." His profile picture on SoundCloud also shows him pointing a handgun at the camera.
BuzzFeed News reports that school records show Schmitt had been suspended from JCHS at least 10 times since 2016, and that he had started a homeschooling program in October of last year. Officers noted that Schmitt had no criminal record and that no one was injured in the incident.
"My life is ruined here in this town," Schmitt said. "I don't think my life is ruined in general — I don't. But I feel like here, in this town, I'm done."