Local Threats Arise After Florida School Shooting: Will it Ever End?

Seventeen students and faculty were tragically killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.

Some high school students nationwide and locally do not understand the seriousness of these circumstances and copycat threats have been on the rise.

The Educators’ School Safety Network, an Ohio-based network that tracks media reports on school threats and incidents, has tracked about 624 incidents as of Feb. 28 at 5 p.m.

This network has found the average number of threats since the shooting in Parkland to be 89.1 per day with 492 schools across the United States impacted. There was a daily average of 11 before the shooting.

There have been threats locally at Cardinal Mooney High School, Liberty High School, Niles McKinley High School and the list goes on.

Threats like these are not funny and local high school administrators and resource officers are not taking this lightly — having lockdowns or closing the school all together.

According to a report by The Vindicator on Feb. 22, Niles McKinley High School will no longer allow students to bring book bags to school — small purses and lunch boxes will be permitted.

The report states that this is an effort by the Niles school district to make students feel safe.

There has been a significant increase of the number of actual incidents of violence from fall 2016 to fall 2017, according to an analysis titled, “Threats and Incidents of Violence in Schools: Mid-Year Analysis of the 2017-2018,” researched and written by Amy Klinger and Amanda Klinger of The Educators’ School Safety Network.

Per the analysis, there were 64 incidents in fall 2016, while there were 100 in fall 2017. This is a 59 percent increase.

The analysis showed there was a 9.5 percent increase in threats of violence between fall 2016 and 2017 with 878 and 961 threats, respectively.

Ohio was ranked #1 in the United States for the fall 2016 “Top Ten States of Concern,” but it is now ranked #7, with a 39.7 percent decrease in threats and of incidents in the first half of the 2017-2018 school year, according to the network.

Although numbers have declined, the real question is if Ohio’s rank will increase due to the numerous threats in Ohio city schools in February.

Some parents are on-edge and near terrified to send their children to school, with some even considering homeschooling because of threats of violence.

Something needs to be done — not tomorrow, but today. Too many lives have been lost and with copycat threats, we may lose more.