Police called after teenager posts Johnny Cash lyrics on Instagram

Parents concerned the 15-year-old New York student posed a threat to school

An Instagram post by a 15-year-old resulted in calls to the New York police department following fears the boy posed a threat to his school’s safety.

Lyrics from Johnny Cash‘s ‘The Man Comes Around’ were posted with the following day’s date ‘4/16/15’ above the emblem of the teenager’s school, New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City.

The lyrics read: “There’s a man going round taking names. And he decides who to free and who to blame. Everybody won’t be treated all the same. There’ll be a golden ladder reaching down. When the man comes around”.


The New York Daily News reports that the post was taken as a threat and led to students refusing to come into the school on Thursday (April 16) and many of their parents contacting the police.

School officials responded to concerns with an email to parents of the high school children assuring them students were not in danger. However, the school did not send the email to parents of students in the lower grades, causing confusion.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, one parent commented: “Obviously there’s some confusion and we don’t really know what the situation is.”

The school’s Principal Olga Livanis later sent an email to the entire school, which read: “We spoke with the parents of the student who wrote the message and were reassured that the student’s message was not meant to be a threat to anyone.”

Following an investigation into the thread, police commented that it was not deemed credible.

‘The Man Comes Around’ is the title track from Johnny Cash’s ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around’, released in 2002.


Johnny Cash’s ‘American Recordings I-VI’ were released as a special vinyl boxset last month (March 24).

Recorded in the final decade of his life with guidance from Rubin, the American Recordings led to a resurgence for the late-country singer. Four of the six albums were released during his life. The final two were issued posthumously.


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