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Editorial: Irresponsible threats can't be tolerated

Dec. 19, 2012 @ 12:03 AM

The tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary last week, like those at Columbine High School more than a decade ago, will mean heightened concerns about school security across the country.

We are sure every teacher and administrator understands that. But clearly some students or community members do not.

Monday in West Virginia, Wirt County High School was evacuated because of a bomb threat, and Wirt County Primary Center and Wirt County Middle School were put on lockdown as a precaution. Here in our area, Spring Valley High School in Wayne County was put on lockdown briefly because a student threatened another student on Facebook.

At least three Ohio schools were on alert after postings over the weekend related to the Connecticut school shooting.

In Hamilton County, an 18-year-old man was charged Sunday after a Facebook post said he was sick of the comments about the shooting, and that they made him want to shoot kids himself. Monday, a student in Springfield posted on Facebook that he could "do better" than the Friday shooting that left 28 people dead. A Twitter posting said a gun and a bomb would be brought to a Willoughby middle school.

With a nation nervous about returning to school this week, you have to wonder what those involved were thinking.

But whether these incidents resulted from hot tempers, poor judgment or some misguided prank, it seems clear that going forward, law enforcement and school officials will have to take a tougher stance on threats made to schools, to staff or to students.

Social media, in particular, have become an uneasy part of school life that contributes to bullying, rumors and misinformation. Unfortunately, some may have to learn the hard way that irresponsible comments and threats can have severe consequences.

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