How Parents Should Respond to School Shooting Threats
Most of us are no longer surprised when a mass shooting takes place at school. As a nation, we have gradually become desensitized to violence in our society; still, that doesn’t mean that we no longer live in fear of becoming victims. Our youth are especially saturated with awareness about school violence — from active shooter drills to clear backpack mandates, they are growing up in a much different environment than their parents and even older siblings did.
These days, law enforcement personnel across the country jump to the call of a school shooting threat. They thoroughly investigate each threat to try to prevent yet another massacre. As such, many students are facing severe criminal penalties they did not anticipate when they made copycat threats.
Two Common Threats Following a School Shooting
Experts have identified two types of threats that commonly surface after a high-profile school shooting: hoaxes made by students trying to crack a joke and legitimate threats made by people who may act upon them.
Kids in the first camp lack good judgment and seek attention from their peers, according to Robert Myers, a clinical psychologist with the University of Southern California who works with children and teens. On the contrary, kids in Camp 2 often resonate personally with the shooters the media tend to empathize with and are inspired by them.
It is likely that students in both camps suffer from mental health issues to some degree; however those in Camp 2 may be dealing with more severe problems at home or school, which they think they can draw attention to by executing mass violence. Authors who write for American Behavioral Scientist believe that exhaustive media coverage of mass shooters creates sympathy for school shooters and makes them household names, which has a powerful effect that inspires copycats.
Central Florida Students Arrested for Threatening Violence
Since the Parkland massacre unfolded on Valentine’s Day 2018, several students in Central Florida found it entertaining to spread school shooting hoaxes on social media. In a little more than a week, police arrested eight students in Volusia and Flagler counties in connection to threats of violence in school, and many more faced other penalties.
In Volusia County, even parents face the consequences in the form of fines of over $1,000 for their child making even one threat of violence against a school. The fine is in addition to any criminal penalties the student may face. It is clear that law enforcement officers are taking such threats much more seriously than they have in the past. How should parents respond?
Talking to Your Kids About School Shooting Threats
Parents should talk to their kids about the gravity of the issue of mass shootings in schools and that jokes or pranks involving threats of violence are not just insensitive to those who have lost their lives, they can also have long-lasting effects. An arrest at a young age can lead to many disadvantages that extend beyond serving time in a juvenile detention facility.
Parents who are concerned with their children’s behavior should speak openly with them and a mental health professional. For students already under arrest, working with a criminal defense lawyer in Orlando who has experience helping kids secure a second chance is crucial.
Our lawyers have extensive experience helping kids preserve their futures after being arrested. Call The Umansky Law Firm or contact us online for a free consultation about your juvenile criminal case.