In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, there have been a number of threats at schools across the nation. In Kansas, there have been at least four arrests associated with threats made to high schools. One such threat was made over social media against Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita, and the 17-year-old boy was arrested for criminal threat.
According to KSN news, Bishop Carroll’s president, Leticia Nielsen, released the following statement:
At 7:00 a.m. today, we were made aware of a posting on social media by one of our students which was inappropriate and concerning in regards to the safety of our school community. Due to the nature of the post, the student has been taken into custody and the administration is working with law enforcement. We have been assured at this time, that there is no legitimate threat to any of our students, or the school.
We are notifying you of this situation as we want you to know that we are taking every precaution necessary to insure the safety of the Bishop Carroll Catholic High School community. All school events will continue to be held and classes will resume on Tuesday, February 20th as scheduled.
Please continue to keep all of our school community members in your prayers.
A 17 year old student from Dodge City High School was also arrested following threats of violence. The officers found him at home, and determined that they would arrest him for criminal threat.
A 15-year old Arkansas City High School student was arrested for saying he would shoot the school up. The most recent arrest was made on Tuesday when a Great Bend Middle School Student made a threat using Snapchat. That student was suspended, and a formal filing of charges is happening.
In addition to these threats, threats were being investigated at Southeast High School in Wichita (they sent additional officers), Northeast Magnet in Wichita, North High in Wichita (they cancelled a pep rally), two threats in Emporia (they were dismissed as hoaxes following investigation from the Emporia police), Atchison (also determined to be non-threatening, but the entire district still went on lockdown during the investigation), and Salina (police added additional patrols to a middle school following a threat on a bathroom wall).
When is enough going to be enough?
Kansas has a candidate for Congress offering a giveaway for an AR-15, the very same weapon that was used to slay, to murder, to steal the lives of 17 people who were just trying to do their jobs as students and educators when they went to school.
Many in Kansas have “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” “we send our thoughts and prayers,” “if God were in school…,” “it’s not a gun issue, these are evil people/mentally ill people,” kinds of attitudes.
But even in Kansas, surely most sensible people have to be asking themselves right now: When is enough going to be enough? I’m failing to see why America’s love affair with guns outweighs the lives of these students and teachers and staff members, and the families and communities that are ripped apart every time we get the breaking news that yet another shooting has occurred.
In return for the terror experienced every day across our country among students, parents, faculty members, staff members, etc., in return for it, we send our thoughts and prayers. “Oh, another shooting. Thoughts and prayers for Sandy Hook. Thoughts and prayers for DeKalb, Illinois. Thoughts and prayers for Parkland, Florida. Thoughts and prayers for your town is next, no high school left unscathed, keep everyone in constant fear, for it’s easier to control them.”
If I sound angry, despondent, frustrated, it’s because I am. You cannot have a conversation in this nation about what to do about the epidemic of mass shootings, about what to do about gun violence, about what to do to protect people just trying to go about their lives, without seeing people throw out platitudes, throw up walls, and blame everyone else.
Meanwhile, the kids who are just trying to get through the sucktitude that is high school? They have to think about things like “Will I run?” “Will I save my friends?” “Will I play dead?”
How do you learn in that environment? Kids are now growing up with the constant threat of violence because the adults around them want to maintain their right to assemble an arsenal of weapons that no one has any business owning. We can’t even get people to agree that maybe individuals who are likely to commit these shootings shouldn’t have access to these weapons.
What happens when one of these kids who recently threatened to shoot up their school on social media gets hold of one of these and does exactly what he said he’s going to do? How far does one person’s “right to bear arms” go before it encroaches on everyone else’s right to be safe and secure?
Until we have answers to those questions, parents everywhere will wonder how seriously they should take the threats made at their kids’ schools. Threats that, from personal experience from having my oldest in public school, can happen several times a week.
When will we say that enough is enough? How many mass shootings and threats of mass shootings will it take?