Our Opinion: Internet should not harbor threats


A nationwide epidemic of violent school threats is breeding fear, anxiety and frustration for educators, children and parents. While the vast majority of these threats are anonymous and turn out to be hoaxes, they have to be investigated and taken seriously.

According to the National School Safety and Security website article ‘National School Safety and Security Services’ (2017), hundreds of schools are losing classroom teaching time, police are wasting resources, children are frightened and parents are angry and alarmed.

Every time a student makes a threat to a school, students and parents are scared. When the school officials are trying to sort out the issue, parents can become so anxious that they keep their children home from school, causing them to miss out on assignments and school hours. These threats can cause major disruption in schools, especially with the police. Police take time out of their day to come and investigate the threat. If it turns out to be a joke between students, the police have just wasted their time when they could have been at an actual emergency. Even if the threat was meant to be a joke, it has to be taken seriously.

The website also mentioned that the issues of text messaging and cell phones in general were credited with often creating more anxiety and panic than any actual threats or incidents. Students who create these threats face charges, including interfering with school activities and harassing communication.

Rumors typically become greater than the issue itself.  Rumors fly in minutes and attendance can drop dramatically overnight. The student can be charged with a felony for communicating threats. Even if this was meant to be a joking matter, it is not seen as a joke in the eyes of the law. With all the social media around nowadays, a joking threat is not seen as a joke anymore. Times are different then they were in past years and every threat has to be taken seriously.

According to Outer Banks Sentinel article, ‘Dare schools use new tool to track social media threats’ (Nov. 14, 2017), “The Dare County School District has signed on to a new service that alerts administrators each morning about any social media postings that could potentially threaten the safety of students or staff in any of its schools.”

With this new technology, schools can be aware of the threats made towards the school and can handle it in a way that will not frighten parents or students. Alerting the administrators ahead of time can help them solve the issue before it gets out of hand. It is important to know when students are making threats to the school, even if it is just a hoax.

Nine out of 10 threats may turn out to be unfounded, but no school wants to be number 10. It is important to take all school threats seriously for the safety of the students and staff.