Threats should not be taken lightly

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Years ago, things were much different in Mississippi public schools, and those across the U.S.

Not more than 20 years ago, students attended open campuses where anyone could essentially walk up to a classroom from the street.

In the back window of any four-wheel drive truck parked in a school parking lot was a gun rack housing at least one if not two or three hunting rifles. And bullying was done face to face, instead of anonymously over the Internet.

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Today, children attend schools where professionally trained armed police officers patrol campuses to ensure students and staff are safe. Gun racks are rarely seen in vehicles driven by working adults, much less high school students. And now there are anti-bullying campaigns teaching our children about the negative effects of cyber bullying.

One other major change to our schools is the horrific frequency of school shootings across our nation. It seems every few months there’s a news report of shooting deaths in one of our country’s public schools.

In between each of those reports, are stories stating young people are making threats of violence over the Internet.

The tragic shootings that have occurred have put our country and state on edge.

But some of the young people dealing with typical teenage angst don’t realize that our world has changed. No longer can they vent their adolescent frustration with, hopefully, hollow threats of violence to their peers or fellow community members and not face repercussions. Such was the case over the weekend when two high school students at a high school in Olive Branch, a community in north Mississippi, were recently arrested for posting threats of violence on social media.

The Associated Press reports that the students, both 16-year-old males, were arrested and could face serious criminal charges.

Parents today will want to consider having conversations with their teens to determine if they require special help to deal with the hurdles of puberty.

Growing up is hard, especially in a world where things are constantly changing.