Handling School Threats After Mass Shooting Events

Posted at 4:46 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 17:46:27-05

In the last seven days there have been six threats made to schools in Wilson County. Most of them have been on social media pages like Facebook.

“Social media is a very powerful tool. It can work in a positive way and also a negative way,” Wilson County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Scott Moore said. 

Social media has changed the way we live. It's also changed the way people communicate, but in recent incidents, it has been the tool used to throw around threats targeting schools. On Friday, a post on Snapchat had authorities in Wilson County on high alert.

“I started receiving phone calls wanting to know if, at Mount Juliet Middle School, if there was a gun there that was recovered. We also got calls asking if the schools were placed on lockdown,” Moore explained.

Neither threat turned out to be valid, but that's not always the case. “There have been threats where we’ve found the student did have intent to carry those things out,” said Moore. 

School threats pick up after incidents like the one that unfolded in Parkland, Florida. “You got some that do it just to get their name out there, for it to get publicized and have that one minute of fame,” said Moore. 

No matter what the cause, officers always respond, which ties up their resources. “Not only are you tying up patrol officers and the school resource officers, you’re tying up investigators, and it can be a tedious process,” Moore said. 

“If you get a call that there’s been a threat, you can check the facts,” Lauren Martin said. 

Martin is a licensed professional counselor. She and law enforcement have encouraged parents to stay off social media if they're concerned about a threat they saw online. "It all goes back to acknowledging our own limitations and the world’s limitations,” said Martin. 

Law enforcement has continued to urge parents to monitor their kids' social media accounts and to speak up if they see something that concerns them.