Student Yik Yak threat provokes possible law change


CHIEF SHANE TURMAN | Rexburg Police Department

Wednesday, July 15, Rexburg Police arrested Aaron Archuletta, a senior studying English education, with a misdemeanor for threats posted on Yik Yak’s social media app.

Captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department said Chief Shane Turman is working with lobbyists and the Idaho State Legislature to change statutes to be more serious on threats made through social media that are directed at institutions of higher education.

“On these, it’s a misdemeanor, not a felony,” Lewis said. “If it had been a grade school, it would have been different. With upper education, it doesn’t address threat. That’s what our chief and the association is working on now with the State of Idaho Legislation.”

Lewis said he thinks a new statute will send a clearer message to those who think about making social media threats.

“We need to get their attention to stop it,” Lewis said. “Is a minor misdemeanor going to get their attention? Some people it will. Some it won’t. It’s like paying a shoplifting ticket.”

Statutes concerning threatening violence on school grounds can be found under Idaho Code §18-3302I, which explains the charges and definitions of threats directed towards schools.

Archuletta’s arraignment will be held Aug. 4 at the Madison County Courthouse.

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