The parents of the 13-year-old Nia were devastated last November when their daughter was arrested and spent almost two weeks behind bars before their lawyer managed to prove she has been wrongfully accused for something she didn’t do. Months after the incident, the family filed lawsuit against the social media giant Meta and the school.
The incident happened late November when Nia was accused of sending messages on Instagram to a friend, identified in the lawsuit as M. S., threatening to blow up the school, kill M.S. and even kill one of the teachers in the school and the teacher’s family.
The investigation showed that M. S. created a fake Instagram account using the name of the 13-year-old Nia, a photo of her and her personal information. Then the student used this new account “to send messages to herself that would appear to be sent” from Nia, according to the lawsuit.
As soon as the teacher was informed about the threats, she immediately went and told the school principal and other school officials who immediately informed the local authorities. The Instagram messages were enough for the police to visit Nia’s Florida home and ask her about the threats. Nia, understandably, said she has used her Instagram account lately, but she was not aware of the account or the messages the officers were referring to.
Without further investigating the case, the police arrested the teenage girl on Nov. 19 and she has been behind bars for a total of 11 days, until she was finally released on Nov. 29. The lawyer hired by Nia’s family was able to prove that she has nothing to do with the account in place nor with the messages sent to her friend M. S. The family’s lawyer added that Nia was so sad her school didn’t protect her, “she threw away her school uniform” once she was released from custody.
The investigation has proved what Nia was claiming since the very beginning and she has been cleared of the charges several weeks later. Once the police learned what had actually happened, they charged the other student whose identity was not publicly revealed.
The family is now suing the school, Instagram and the parent company Meta. In addition, the family also filed a notice of intent to sue the local police department over the incident because they allegedly arrested Nia without sufficient proof that she had written the threatening messages.
“When it comes to our children, law enforcement and our school officials must make sure they do their homework before they put our kids in handcuffs,” M. Porter, the family’s attorney, told ABC News Live. “And we know that, yes, there has been situations that have ended in tragedy where these type of threats need to be taken seriously,” Porter added. “But it cannot come at the expense of our children.”
“Nobody looked into what damage it did,” Nia’s mother Lezlie-Ann Davis added. “Emotionally, mentally, you know, and she’s still growing. She’s young and she’s growing. So as adults, a lot of things in our past affect us and I think it’s something that will affect her.”
The complaint also alleges that Nia was bullied while she was a student at the school and that the school “failed to investigate or otherwise respond” after it was reported. The bullying got so bad, her mother Davis said, that she pulled her daughter of school only a few days before the November arrest.
As per the lawsuit, Nia and her family are demanding a minimum of $30,000 in addition to costs and attorney’s fees.