Warning Signs and Preventing School Violence

ByABC News
March 6, 2001, 3:09 PM

March 7 -- In Santee, Calif., a student's threat went ignored and a community paid the price.

But the tragic and painful lesson has not gone ignored. In Perris, Calif., a 90-minute drive from the Southern California scene of Monday's tragedy, four teens were overheard Tuesday talking about their desire to murder.

Were they joking, or was this another Columbine, another Santana, in the planning stage?

Theres no such thing as a joke anymore as it relates to violence or threats of violence or saying youre going to get the gun, said Sgt. Mark Lohman of the Riverside County, Calif., sheriffs department. We can see what happened if somebody doesnt take it seriously.

Deputies in Lohmans department found a knife in the backpack of one of the students in question, and guns in his home. And thats not the only case his department is dealing with. A student at Perris Community Day School, a continuation school, allegedly threatened to shoot everyone if transferred.

Thats something you dont joke about, said Lohman.

Taking Threats Seriously, Across the Nation

Outside of Little Rock, Ark., faculty members locked down the students at Bryant High School and used metal detectors to search the campus for weapons at around 8:30 Tuesday morning.

A note that contained threats against a faculty member was found by another faculty member and reported immediately, according to Bryant police.

Just a day after the Santana High School shooting, it was another reminder of the threats schools can face, and administrators say the lockdown was standard procedure.

The suspect in the shooting at Santana High told other students and a family friend that he planned the shooting. Friends said they searched the teen but didn't check his backpack.

Both cases once again highlight the growing concern over school violence, and raise questions about faculty response to questionable behavior and statements made by students. Suburban and rural educators have been asking these questions a lot more since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went of a suicidal shooting spree at Colombine High School almost two years ago.