Schools, Media Work To Curb School Violence Threats
Posted April 10, 2001 3:59 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Since the shooting at Santana High School in California, schools around the country have been dealing with threats of similar violence. However, you may not hear about all of the incidents on WRAL-TV.
"We have answered in the last two weeks, probably close to 100 instances of potential threats or rumors," said Corey Duber, Wake County School System's security director. "There have been more rumors than anything."
Every threat is investigated by school officials. When a threat is substantial or a weapon is found, a letter goes home with parents.
"We don't want to hide anything," Duber said. "We don't want to bring an air of hysteria, either."
Newsrooms have a similar weeding process. Here at WRAL-TV, we check out every news tip we receive about threats of violence. When students are arrested, we report it.
"I think it sends a message to parents, kids and the community that police take this seriously, and there are consequences for this behavior," said Andrea Parquet-Taylor, WRAL-TV's news director.
Following the Columbine High School shooting, an FBI report said intense media attention has a contagious effect.
"Copycats love attention, and kids love the thrill of seeing if a news organization is going to put on something they did today," Parquet-Taylor said. "That's not what we're in the business of doing."
At WRAL, we may choose to report on a threat if it affects the community because of traffic delays, mass evacuations or other true community disruptions.