Those who see and hear are the first line of defense to protect schools from mass shootings
Young people for years like to live with the mantra “snitches get stitches” as they don’t want to be a tattletale. But with the reality being their life might be endanger to a lonely, upset student brandishing an assault weapon, it has to be understood that if you see or hear something, you have to report it.
“Part of the training we do for staff and students is to be observant of what they see or hear and report it. It’s an important first step,” said Pendleton County Superintendent Dr. Anthony Strong. “We don’t want anything taken for granted. Every comment you hear that is a potential threat of violence or bullying, we want reported.”
Strong admitted that yes, it adds to the day for already overworked building administrators who task part of the beginning of each day to review safety procedures. Handling tips takes them away from students but he says, “we cannot take the chance and we take every report serious.”
An extensive U.S. Secret Service study of school shootings detailed several key findings.
The second was “Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s ideas and/or plan to attack,” Unfortunately, the information rarely makes its way to an adult.
In the Parkland, Fla., shooting, many were not surprised of the identity of the shooter.
“I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him,” 17-year-old Dakota Mutchler said about the shooter.
In fact, Benjamin Bennight, a Mississippi bail bondsman had reported to the FBI concerns over a comment made on his Youtube channel made by a poster with the same name as the shooter.
The FBI made a rare admittance late last week that information had been turned over to them that should have raised red flags but never was forwarded to the Fla. office.
Since the Fla. shooting, six people in Central and Eastern Ky. were in Jessamine, Knox and Clay counties. A sign that authorities are taking any threat as a serious danger to the kids at schools.
Pendleton County Schools has a tipline through the Ky. Safe School Center on their website www.pendleton.kyschools.us that students or anyone who has seen or heard something can access via their cell phone.
“What they need to report is any type of comment by students who are in or out of school or anyone in the community has made that is considered a threat on a person or a school. If it means potential harm to their friends, they need to report it,” emphasized Dr. Strong.
He indicated that three people in district receives the tip immediately. They average about three tips per week. All three receive the notification to their phone and they are immediately in contact with the building administrators for the right person to handle the information provided in the tip.
He also pointed out that it is not the only means that is being used. Parents have contacted his Pendleton Co. Superintendent Anthony Strong Facebook account via Messenger and he encouraged them to continue to use it.
Any information could also be passed along by calling the school or district.
“We hope that all students have someone they are comfortable with at their school that they feel they can talk to. Tell that adult and they will handle it appropriately,” implored the retiring administrator.