Posted on October 19, 2009
How Can Facebook Threats be Handled?
Yesterday, I stumbled across this article by Katie Ash. It talks about two different incidents where students used Facebook to post school shooting threats. In the first story, a student’s post went unnoticed for five months until authorities learned of it. In the second story, a threat was made in PEI and administrators decided to keep the school open just with tighter security. Apparently, the decision to keep the school open was because there was no way to contact students and families on such short notice. Needless to say, parents were not pleased that they were not made aware of the threat. Katie goes on to suggest that parents are expecting schools to be able to get the message out quickly with all the available communication tools of today.
This article brought up some interesting thoughts.
How can a shooting threat go without action for 5 months? Was it only because it was made through Facebook? If dangerous threats like this are occurring on Facebook, should accounts be monitored? What if this student came a week after his post and “shot the place up”? Should something not have been immediately when the threat was made?
Now with regards to letting parents know quickly. We do have incredible technology capable of reaching enormous amounts of people in no time, why couldn’t it be utilized to warn students and their families of such a threat? They certainly could make a list of cellphone numbers to text, twitter accounts to tweet, emails to email, and so on. The radio works great, but I’m sure even less people listen to it than ever before, so more and more ways to communicate a message like this should be explored.
What do you think about these two situations? What can be done to better handle similar situations in the future? They certainly made me think about how technology should maybe be monitored and how effectively it is currently being used.