Since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School almost two weeks ago, schools across the country have seen a noticeable spike in violent threats, according to the Educators’ School Safety Network. The not-for-profit organization, which is based in Ohio and tracks media reports on school threats and incidents, has recorded nearly 400 cases since the shooting in Parkland. They’re currently seeing up to 65 new threats to schools each day, a significant increase from the previous average of 11.
That said, there had been concerns about the growing threats of violence even before this month’s shooting, according to Amy Klinger, a member of the Educators’ School Safety Network. The organization had noticed a 12 percent increase in threats between the 2016 and 2017 school years, along with a 59 percent rise in violent incidents.
“We always know there’s an uptick after an event like [Florida’s school shooting] ⏤ a contagion effect, a copycat effect,” Klinger said. “But this is a significant spike.”
According to BBC News, Los Angeles school authorities have received 160 calls related to “a possible criminal threat” and the LAPD has recorded 19 tips regarding potential threats against schools in the last two weeks, compared to just 52 recorded over the entirety of 2017. Of course, not every threat proves to be credible, but in the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, law enforcement and other safety officials can’t afford to take anything lightly.
“You’ve seen a huge spike in kids being arrested,” says Klinger. “We can’t joke about having a bomb in our bag in an airport, and so now we can’t say we’re going to shoot up our school and say that’s a joke ⏤ it’s not.”