Experts: Schools Don’t Heed Violence Threats


As Cleveland schools revise security plans after a shooting rampage by a 14-year-old boy, experts say the solution is simple: Pay attention to threatening behavior and talk, reports USA Today. A week before Asa Coon wounded four people and fatally shot himself at SuccessTech Academy in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday, he had threatened to blow up the school and stab students. Using metal detectors, security guards, and surveillance cameras doesn’t guarantee that a gunman will be kept out. A key lesson from the more than two dozen school shootings since Columbine in 1999: Troubled teens who plan attacks often warn of their intentions.

“It’s frustrating to see one shooting after another that could be prevented,” said Dewey Cornell, a forensic clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia. “Schools have emergency response plans rather than prevention plans. Every school should have programs to stop bullying and to counter the mind-set that reporting threats is “snitching,” said criminologist Jack Levin of Northeastern University. “Nobody likes a person who rats,” he said, but schools should provide environments where students can report threats to trusted teachers or counselors, or anonymously.


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