There was a time when we heard about a threat of violence involving a school – usually a phony bomb threat – once in very long while. For some reason, these threats have become a regular part of life for students and their parents. Recent examples in Arizona are not hard to come by:
- Last month three California men were arrested for phoning in a couple of bomb threats to two Scottsdale schools. Police say the calls were made in an attempt to divert attention from the group’s real objective: robbing a local coin store.
- In late October 2014, school threats were the subject of an investigation in Prescott Valley. Officials tell us that a student, a sophomore at the Charter School, was, according to the school’s principal, making threatening statements to other students.
- In September of this year, Phoenix police arrested a 14-year old student after he allegedly posted comments online concerning plans for a shooting at his school.
- In August, Sahuaro High School in Tucson was the subject of a similar problem. Police were provided with a “tip” that there were explosives at the school. The school was then evacuated.
Don’t assume that the proliferation of threats is limited to Arizona. It’s something that we’re seeing across the country. Last month, for example, there were seven threats against four high schools in a single county in New Jersey.
Although school threats come in different forms, recent attention has focused on shootings by students, which is understandable given the tragedies in Newtown (Sandy Hook), Connecticut and other areas of the country. What you may not know is that there have been almost 100 school shootings in the United States between January 2013 and December 2014. They involved incidents in two-thirds of the states, and the majority of these cases led to an injury or death. Unfortunately, if you read up on the analysis of the problem, you’ll find that researchers are having a difficult time isolating specific factors that appear to be common among many of the shootings, and they offer little in the way of guidance on how to predict or avoid the violence in the future.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004