As the nation still struggles to make sense of the latest mass shooting, Connecticut’s schools also find themselves struggling with a new problem. More and more kids are now threatening to bring guns to school and kill people.
Since the tragedy, local police arrested several students for either joking or capitalizing on the tragedy.
First, police arrested a 13-year-old Trumbull boy for posting a gun photo and threatening his school. Trumbull Times reported that the child faces disorderly conduct charges.
Then a Durham kid made a social media post threatening violence, which resulted in his or her arrest. NBC Connecticut reports police charged the Coginchaug student with breach of peace.
Shortly after, a Colchester teen threatened to commit a similar atrocity that referenced the mass shooting in Florida. NBC Connecticut says police arrested 18-year-old Nicholas Burtis and charged him with with second-degree breach of peace.
Then a Cheshire student made a similar threat, resulting in an increased police presence at the school. NBC Connecticut says police charged the student with first degree threatening.
Around the same time, Troop K arrested a middle school student in Hebron for making similar threats. CBS Connecticut reports the juvenile faces threatening and breach of peace charges.
Later, a 14-year-old West Haven student threatened teachers and showed photos of guns to make a point. Police arrested the child and charged him or her with breach of peace. Details of this event is included in the CBS report linked above.
In addition, a Staples High School student made similar threats at school, resulting in arrest. Westport News reports that officials believed they dodged a bullet, quite literally. Officials said the student made a threat against a teacher and intended to follow up on it. The suspect remains at Norwalk Hospital for mental evaluation. However, it’s uncertain what other charges this student faces.
Also, in the past several weeks, many schools around the state went into lockdowns. Heck, Stamford High School received a BOMB THREAT.
Obviously, people are scared. Kids don’t feel safe at school anymore. And, as sad as it is, several kids want to take advantage on that panic. So, they make threats, hoping that someone will take them seriously. Maybe they do it for attention, or do it on a dare, or maybe they do it because it’s a cry for help.
And since officials ignored the red flags surrounding the latest mass shooter, schools are now paying attention. But it goes beyond the schools. Now the students are on high alert, too. It’s their lives on the line, after all.
The era of “if you see something, say something” is over. It’s now “if you hear something, say something. Fast.”
That’s what potentially saved lives at Staples High School in Westport.
However, the rampant paranoia might lead to kids hearing or seeing something that isn’t real, as what happened in Norwalk.
A student thought he heard a gun sling, told a teacher, and forced the school into a shelter in place. Norwalk police eventually found no evidence of a threat and gave the all clear.
But, this time, constantly crying wolf won’t affect police response anymore. They intend to treat every possible threat as the real deal.
But, paranoia is not the issue affecting our students. It’s the students who think making these threats is totally okay. Some might even call it funny because nothing will happen to them.
Considering so many of these incidents happened in the past 12 days, officials need to nip this alarming trend in the bud.
If a child jokes or even threatens due to a lapse in judgement about shooting up their school or teacher, throw the book at them. It’s not a case of a child not knowing any better because, newsflash, they do. Since when did 13-year-old acquire the mental capacity of a toddler? They have a filter and they know how to use it.
Also, I believe kids know the difference between right, wrong, and downright stupid. They just choose what they want to do.
Maybe they made the threats because they want an early dismissal. But, maybe they made these threats because they’re frustrated. Or, even worse, actively planning on going through with it.
The fact is, no one knows for sure. But, slaps on the wrist won’t do anyone any good if the student does intend to inflict harm. If they want to do it, they will find a way. A summons won’t deter them.
So, enough of these hearings and slaps on the wrist. Somewhere along the lines, people forget that these kids actively threatened to take people’s lives in the most horrific way imaginable. Officials should do everything in their power to demonstrate that this behavior will not be tolerated. Any threat of a mass shooting should be punished to the fullest extent.
With so many threats bombarding our news in the past week, it shows kids feel they found a new way to get out of class. Long gone are the days of pulling the fire alarm.
I think they understand the severity of their actions, but when they don’t receive the proper punishment, what’s to stop them from doing it again?
So, yes, something is wrong with Connecticut’s kids. I graduated high school in 2006 and I do not remember seeing or hearing about this many mass shooting threats in a single week. I don’t know what changed in the past 12 years, but something needs to happen to shift it back.
Make kids responsible for their words and actions. More importantly, by treating each threat as a credible or premeditated attack, I’m sure students will be less willing to make them.
Am I advocating making these kids an example? Yes. Because someone needs to teach these morons that this is not okay.
But, more importantly, might help some child find the help they desperately need. No more kids “falling between the cracks,” as what happened in Florida.
Do you think kids who make shooting and bomb threats should be charged to the fullest extent of the law? Or do you think that a child’s life should be potentially ruined over a “mistake?”