How can Schools Deal with Copycat Threats Cybertraps 104

  • The Problem


  • In the wake of virtually every school shooting, dozens (if not hundreds) of copycat threats are made to schools around the country.

  • Thanks to prevalence of mobile devices, threats are being made by students in virtually all grade levels

  • Such threats can initially be anonymous, although law enforcement has resources that can often reveal the initial poster

  • Threat can originate from anywhere in the world

  • A significant problem is ease with which such threats are reshared

  • School districts face problem that they cannot be wrong once about seriousness of threat

  • The intent of the poster (“just a joke”) or the poster’s inability to carry out the threat are NOT defenses

  • Vectors for Threats

  • Phone / Voicemail

  • Email

  • Social Media
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Snapchat
    • WhatsApp
    • TikTok
    • Etc.
  • Why Is This Happening?

  • Makers of copycat threats seek notoriety and enjoy the chaos they cause

  • Correlation between size of tragedy and number of copycat threats

  • Parents have a responsibility to supervise their children and warn about the potential consequences of making threats of violence

  • Effects

  • Disruption of routine

  • School cancellations

  • Mental health Issues

  • How Can We Reduce This Behavior?

  • Culture of cybersafety

  • Teachable Moments
    • Students
    • Parents
    • School Community
  • Cooperation between schools and law enforcement

  • Increased police presence?

  • What Are Social Media Platforms Doing?


  • Algorithms and Human Inspection of Possible TOS violations

  • Automation to take down content that violates guidelines

  • Safety teams that coordinate with law enforcement

  • Can social media respond quickly enough?

  • Consequences for Children Who Make Threats

  • School sanctions

  • Counseling

  • Criminal proceedings
    • Fines
    • Jail Time
  • Resources

– #2021–12–18 At least a dozen students are ARRESTED nationwide following ‘school shooting TikTok challenge’ after copycat Ethan Crumbley massacre threats
– #2021–12–17 Copycat threats after Oxford school shooting leave juveniles facing drastic consequences
– #2021–12–17 Threats of school violence on TikTok spur educators into action
” – #2021–12–17 Amid alleged TikTok school shooting threats, here’s what we know about app’s response
– #2021–12–16 School threats and their impact on students’ mental health
– #2021–12–16 School threats posted on TikTok deemed not credible; security beefs up across nation
– #2021–12–13 Extra officers at JL Mann high school after threatening Snapchat post
– #2021–12–10 What’s behind all the ‘non-credible’ school threats in Virginia?
– #2021–12–08 Multiple students charged in string of copycat threats after Oxford High shooting
– #2021–12–08 Two people in custody, charged with threatening metro Atlanta schools
– #2021–12–08 Richview Middle student arrested over threat posted to social media
– #2021–12–08 Police arrest 13-year-old after second threat on Maple Valley Schools this week
– #2021–12–03 Since Oxford Shooting, At Least 519 Schools Have Closed Nationwide Due to Threats
– #2021–12–03 13-year-old in custody after threat on Holt Junior High School
– #2021–12–02 Copycat threats of violence force some school districts in Michigan to close Thursday
– #2021–11–20 Threats against school were hoaxes to create ‘fear and panic,’ Wayne County officials say
– #2018–02–20 Copycat school threats boil over following major shootings; how do we stop them?
– #2018–02–16 Copycat Threats and Jittery Nerves Force School Shutdowns Across the U.S.
– Safe Kids Inc.

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