Assessing Shooting Threats Is a Matter of Life or Death. Why Aren’t Experts Better at It?

Assessing Shooting Threats Is a Matter of Life or Death. Why Aren’t Experts Better at It?

There is no playbook for schools, and they need all the help they can get
By David RiedmanJillian Peterson & James Densley — December 16, 2021 (Published by Education Week)
David Riedman is the co-creator of the K-12 School Shooting Database at the Naval Postgraduate School. Jillian Peterson is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University. James Densley is a professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University. Densley and Peterson are co-founders of the Violence Project and co-authors of “The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic.” In Davison, Mich., 20 miles north of the site of the mass shooting at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, a middle schooler sits in prison for threatening a school shooting in 2019. For claiming the “trench coat mafia”—a reference to a debunked 1999 Columbine shooting conspiracy—and drawing up a detailed plan of attack, he was convicted of a 20-year felony. Threats of school violence, credible or not, can result in serious consequences for the students making them. And this year, students are making them more and more. After the shooting at Oxford High School, scores of Michigan schools were closed because of threats, causing further despair and disruption to families still trying to process why a local child would ever kill their classmates. Threats come in many forms, including direct communication, social-media posts, written plans and drawings, ominous messages scrawled on the bathroom wall, hearsay, and anonymous 911 calls. Some are real, some are unfunny jokes or hoaxes. There is no playbook for how to deal with them all except to say they must be taken seriously because school shooters nearly always tip their hand in advance. Full article available: Assessing Shooting Threats Is a Matter of Life or Death. Why Aren’t Experts Better at It? (Opinion) (edweek.org)