Do your part for schools

Published 8:24 pm Monday, February 19, 2018

It seems as if each passing day brings news of another threat against a school, another gun found on a student at school, or another school shooting. Even on weekends, there seems to be no respite from the onslaught of bad news on the school safety front.

The days in between are filled with partisan rancor about what can be done. While the disagreement goes on, students, parents and teachers live in fear, the country grows ever closer to its next tragedy.

While many of us may feel helpless, there are absolutely things you can do to help prevent the next tragedy.

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Both Nansemond River High School Principal Daniel O’Leary and Lakeland High School Principal Douglas Wagoner reiterated in their letters to parents Monday after veiled threats against the schools that everyone needs to be on alert.

They expounded upon the common refrain, “If you see something, say something,” by reminding parents and students, “If you see something, hear something, sense something, say something.”

This is a good reminder to parents and students that it doesn’t necessarily need to be a visible danger or a social media post to report to authorities. Even an overheard whisper or something that just seems out of place could be the key needed to keep students and teachers safe.

Numerous students at both schools did the right thing in bringing the posts they found to the attention of their school administrators on Monday, which brings up the next point the principals stressed in their letters — parents should constantly remind their students to immediately report any social media threats and also teach them about inappropriate social media use. Making these sorts of threats is a serious felony charge and, in today’s environment, is unlikely to be taken lightly.

Finally, if you know of a student who is struggling, is depressed, is a “loner” or is otherwise in need of help, reach out to them. The vast majority of students like this will never become a school shooter, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still need a friend.