Six girls at a rural high school were charged with homicide conspiracy after their principal found a list of 300 names and officials discovered online postings suggesting they kill people, authorities said Thursday.
School officials said the list, discovered in a classroom trash can, mostly named students and faculty members but also included Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey and the Energizer bunny.
Sequatchie County High School Principal Tommy Layne said that he initially considered it a joke, but that authorities then found the ninth-graders' online MySpace pages and postings that included the word "kill."
"In general terms, it was like, 'Let's kill these people,'" Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth said. He declined to provide the specific wording on the posting, which has been removed.
"I am not saying we thwarted a shooting incident or an act of violence," Huth said. "On the other hand, had this gone unchecked, down the road it could have grown into something a whole lot more serious than a list of names."
There was no evidence that the girls had weapons or that an attack had been imminent, Huth said.
The girls, ages 14 and 15, were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal homicide late Wednesday and taken to a juvenile facility. A juvenile court detention hearing was set Friday in Dunlap, about 40 miles northwest of Chattanooga.
Layne said he learned about the list Tuesday when a "young man came in with his grandmother and said his name was on the list."
No club or group was involved, said Layne, who described the girls as friends. The school has more than 600 students.
Sophomore Lakyn Ledford stayed home Thursday after learning that student-athletes were on the list.
"I was very scared, my friends were scared, that's a scary thing, it can really happen," she told WTVC-TV.