Heading Off Mass Violence by Youths

Two students at Shady Spring High School in Raleigh County, W.Va., were in custody this week because an alert parent took their alleged terrorist threats seriously. Good for the responsible adult.

Reportedly, the two students posted threats on a social media site. In them, they made reference to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, in which two boys killed 12 students.

The Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department arrested the two students after investigators determined the youths were planning an attack on their classmates. The assault was still in the planning stages, according to the authorities.

An investigation into the situation is continuing. Until it is completed, speculation on what the two juveniles had in mind would be premature. Still, their social media posting was alarming enough for the sheriff’s office to arrest them.

That might not have happened had the parent not seen the posting and informed the authorities.

It has not been reported whether the adult became aware of the posting independently or was tipped off by another youth.

Experts in mass violence by juveniles – who admit they have much to learn – emphasize that those who notice worrisome behavior by youths should report it. That may be the single most effective way of heading off school massacres.

It is something both students and adults in our area should keep in mind.