• On Monday, police say they found a high-caliber rifle and notes about a possible attack when they arrested an 18-year-old suspected of a plot against fellow students at Bartlesville High School in Oklahoma. In addition, the whole district closed Wednesday until after the holiday break because of reports of people seeing a man with a gun near a school.
• Two other Oklahoma school districts canceled classes Friday because of threats and rumors of possible violence.
• In Michigan, dozens of schools closed Friday. Many were related to Mayan doomsday rumors, but some arrests have also been made for students making threats on Facebook or telling classmates they’d bring a gun to school.
• Rumors of a student planning to bring a gun to school and kill himself led to the closure of Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah, Friday.
With so much media attention in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, “there’s also a state of hypervigilance,” says Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center in Westlake Village, Calif. “Parents and others who see things in the community – the assumption is this is a potential threat that needs to be investigated.”
That can avert real threats, as appears to have been the case this week in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
It can also lead to something that later turns out to be harmless.