Shooting threats because of Student Activism

How the police handle school threats online

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) - Wasatch High students face backlash from peers after trying to participate in the National School Walkout on March 14.

The walkout is meant to honor the 17 victims of the Florida shooting with 17 minutes of silence at 10am on March 14th. Students across the country are participating, but at Wasatch High, some have responded negatively. 

Grace Bingham is in the 10th grade and one of the three organizers. She said that after she posted about the event on social media, "One of the kids responded with a picture of his gun and said I think I'll keep mine which was so disrespectful because we didn't bring politics or guns into it."

But the scariest response came from a student in Orem. Whitney Hess explained, "Somebody commented 'I'm going to shoot up my school in those 17 minutes'. We screen-shotted that, we sent it to the police."

The first line of defense for school threats are school resource officers, police men and women who are stationed at a school long-term to protect the students and faculty. Chief Deputy Jared Rigby said, "They stay keenly aware of what's happening in the community through social media. They need to be approachable enough that students can come to them and disclose really sensitive and personal things."

Police say they determined this threat was hollow, but the girls said it made the experience a little too real. 

Bingham said, "All we're trying to do is take a moment of silence for those kids who lost their lives trying to earn an education." The girls said that the community is welcome to join them outside Wasatch High at 10am, March 14. 

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