Albany, NY - A 17
year old student bragged
over the internet about his plan of killing more people at his school than
were killed in Columbine. Fortunately, the 17 year old student to whom he
spoke did not find it admirable and turned him in to authorities.
said that it was going to be just like Columbine, only
they were going to kill more people." These words
were reported to authorities by a student in Arkansas
In an unprecedented move, the New York
State Commissioner of Education, Richard P. Mills, made the decision to send
out a warning this morning to the state's 712 school districts based on a
threat made over the internet. A
17 year old girl in Arkansas was "chatting" over the web with a 17
year old student from New York who began to talk about killing people and
blowing up the school similar to the attack on Columbine. The Arkansas
student is to be praised for her sound judgement in reporting the
conversation to local authorities who quickly notified New York state
police. The police arrested the young man and conducted a search of his
house but found no other evidence that the threat was real. The Department
of Education felt there was sufficient evidence to warrant the warning and
many schools across the state shut and locked their doors.
We may never know if this was a planned
event or just a prankster, a guy showing off for a girl. Either way, the
school is now safer and unfortunately, this young man is facing prison.
Thirty miles west of Albany, Amsterdam
School District Superintendent Ronald Limoncelli directed all outside doors
locked at five elementary schools, the middle school and the high school.
The District also refused entry to all visitors not known to the school for
the day and canceled a spelling bee. "There was no specific threat
against Amsterdam," Superintendent Limoncelli said, "Think we
needed to be prepared and ready for it."
Mary Jalloh, director of the New York
State Center for School Safety, said that her group received calls from
schools around the state that had followed their emergency plans.
The questions that should spring to every
mind is, "What would my school do? Do we have an emergency or crisis
plan to get us through something like this? What if the threat was actually
There are a number of organizations that
offer schools help with Crisis Planning. It is possible to purchase a Crisis
Plan or a "Fill in the blanks" Crisis Plan outline and many
schools have taken advantage of these types of programs. These are generally
referred to as "one-size-fits-all" plans. The question that we ask
is, "When is the last time you bought a shirt labeled ‘one-size-fits-all’
and it actually fit like a tailored garment?" Keys To Safer Schools.com
can help. Go to http://www.keystosaferschools.com/CriticalTraining.htm
and look at what we have to offer. From a little to as much as your school
needs. There are brief in-service trainings on the theories of planning for
and mitigating a crisis, to School Site Safety Surveys, to a complete
tailored, printed Crisis Plan. If we moved by this story of a Crisis averted
through the actions of student, let it move us to action to be prepared.