Yesterday, May 17 2017, at J.P. Taravella High School there was a school shooting threat. The student threatened to bring a gun to school on social media. The school was on lockdown for almost the whole day.
The threat was later deemed uncredible by the police though; the student defended themselves by stating it was just a “prank”.
The student’s “prank” was methodically planned. They included a building number, a time of day, and how long it would take them to kill the students. Students during school had no reason not to believe this could happen.
Call me crazy, but school shootings are on the bottom of my list of hilarious pranks. Edgy or dark humor can be very funny but when someone’s life is at risk it must stop.
This is not exclusively a Taravella problem, Coral Springs High School also received a school shooting threat later that same Tuesday.
The school has done all it can to stop this madness. Taravella has enforced its policies of limited movement and safety in the school but still the problem remains. We need to stop looking to the school to fix these issues; the students need to work together to help.
A similar problem occurred earlier this year in March. The school fight that made local headlines scared many parents and students but the fight could’ve been easily diffused, not by the security guards or a teacher but by the people watching.
Kids idly watched on the sidelines and did nothing. As a fellow student was being beat, people decided to take out their phones instead of intervening.
This directly relates to the shooting threat; none of his/her friends decided to speak up against this dangerous “prank”. If someone would have told a teacher or an officer the situation could have been diffused much sooner. The student’s intentions were to make a joke but it would be dangerous to always assume someone is joking.
In 2015 the “Oregon shooter” killed nine people at Umpqua Community College. He warned people the night before on social media (4chan) to not go to school if they live in the Northwest. Many though thought he was joking but what if the people who saw it took action; they could have saved nine lives.
The shooting threat on Taravella is not on the same level as the Oregon shooting but it shows the worst case scenario. Threats on students lives are meant to be taken seriously.
More security guards or cameras will not fix the problem. The solution is contingent on us. The reason I bring up the Oregon shooting is that it shows what could happen when students are silent. When we see a potential threat or a problem walking away or brushing it off could be detrimental.
It’s easy to blame the school lockdown on social media, gun culture, the crazy “prankster”, of the school but it would be more meaningful to take a look at ourselves. Ask: When should I speak up? Too many people bypass judgement and sometimes it comes at a tragic cost.