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
- Social Media
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
Disruption of routine
Mental health Issues
How Can We Reduce This Behavior?
Culture of cybersafety
- Teachable Moments
- 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
- Criminal proceedings
- Jail Time
– #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.