A high schooler from New Jersey could face up to 10 years in prison after he uploaded a controversial song and photo to music streaming service, Soundcloud.
BuzzFeed news reported that Michael Schmitt, an 18-year-old senior at James Caldwell High School, has been on house arrest since March as a result of his rap.
After spotting the cover image of Schmitt pointing a handgun at the camera, a concerned student raised awareness of the track to her mum, who told the school, according to police reports.
School administrators contacted police to raise the alarm of a possible threat, leading to a SWAT team descending on the school during a weekend music concert.
Schmitt was arrested for creating a “false public alarm,” which carries a five- to 10-year sentence, and taken to jail in Newark, New Jersey, where he was placed in protective custody.
“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.”
The student insisted he was just a weird kid who liked hip-hop.
The school principal, Jim Devlin, says police did the right thing. “He says there wasn’t a plan, but we don’t know for certain,”
“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,”
“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 had started a homeschooling program in October after being suspended from JCHS for at least 10 incidents since 2016.