The family of a 13-year-old from Florida who was wrongly jailed for nearly two weeks for apparently sending out bomb threats to her school on social media plans to sue the school and Instagram.
Nia Whims was impersonated by a fellow student at Renaissance Charter School in the city of Doral. The 12-year-old used false emails and social media accounts under Nia Whims' name.
Whilst an investigation was carried out in November 2021, Nia was placed in a juvenile detention centre for 11 days and later released when police worked out she was being impersonated.
Whilst she was in the centre another girl threatened to stab her over a piece of chocolate, her family said.
Lezlie-Ann Davis, Nia’s mother, announced their lawsuit against Renaissance Charter School, Instagram, and its parent company Meta last Wednesday (February 16).
The family is also planning to sue the Pembroke Pines Police Department.
They are demanding a sum of a minimum of $30,000 (£22,000) over costs and attorney's fees. The family said Nia's innocence was “literally available at the press of a button."
“When it comes to our babies, when it comes to our children, law enforcement needs to make sure they do a thorough investigation,” said Marwan Porter, the attorney for Nia and her family.
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“Another young lady who was in [the detention center], older than [Nia], threatened to stab her over a piece of chocolate,” he added.
According to the court documents filed in Broward Country, Instagram failed to give information to the authorities quickly enough.
Nia describes her experience at the juvenile detention centre as “horrifying."
The child, who is currently learning from home, said the experience has left her feeling anxious.
"I feel distanced. I don't really want to talk to anybody about the situation," Nia said.
During the press conference, Nia's mum said: “At one point I wanted her out so bad I called my lawyer, and I was like I'd rather do the time than her. ''What can I do?’”
A spokesperson for Renaissance Charter School said that they “always have and always will take all appropriate actions to ensure our students and staff are safe.”
Instagram has been contacted for a comment.
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