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Anchorage, AK: Schools dealing with threats of violence by students

Nov 29, 2018, Anchorage, AK, KTOO, Public Media: What’s behind recent threats in Anchorage schools? For weeks, Anchorage schools have been grappling with a wave of violent threats. Officials stress that while none of them have posed a real risk to public safety, they’re being taken seriously. But there has been little offered about why the cluster of messages is happening all at once. The first message was found in a bathroom at Dimond High School on Nov. 5. According to a statement emailed to parents by principal Tina Johnson-Harris, the threat scrawled on a towel dispenser read, “I’m shooting up the school, I’m not joking. Police have begun charging the individuals they believe made the threats. According to Thim, four people have been arrested so far, all of them are minors, which means APD withholds the names and specific charges. More arrests are possible…. Whether it’s suicides, threatening messages or physical violence, researchers and activists have a number of recommendations to keep from amplifying information in a harmful way. One is for less sensational media coverage that can inadvertently attach a sense of impact and significance to threats. Others include more mental health resources in schools and focusing on negative consequences from making even threats.

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