Don't be that person who makes hoax threats against a school

Students are scared and the police are busy – don't be that person.
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Students are scared and the police are busy – don't be that person.

The Washington Post reports how last week's Parkland, Florida school shooting is leading to a flurry of copycat threats – some apparently serious, some flippant – across the U.S.

Minnesota is no exception. Over the past 48 hours we've seen threats made in Orono and Woodbury on Wednesday, now in Hill City on Thursday.

It's now being reported that the person responsible for the Orono threats was a boy under the age of 16.

So for anyone else thinking of making a hoax threat against a school going forward, just try and think of the pain and upset it's going to cause.

Students and teachers everywhere are already on edge as it is from last week's tragedy without hoaxers making it worse.

Parents meanwhile are struck with terror the second they hear their child's school is on lockdown – no parent should have to feel that fear.

And you have the police, who have to respond to these threats seriously and in great numbers, taking them away from actual crime happening elsewhere.

This saturation of hoax threats could have dangerous and unintended consequences further down the line.

The more of them that happen, the possibility arises that they're not taken as seriously by those inside a school and out – which could prove disastrous in the event a genuine active shooter situation happens again.

FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole, in the Washington Post, had this message for those thinking about posting hoax threats on social media.

"When you do it behind a computer screen, you don’t see that at the other end, you’ve put somebody in tears."

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