Educators search for appropriate school threats response

7:05 AM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Two threats in two days have prompted the lockdown of one Minnesota high school and extra security at several others.

Which raises the question, what should the appropriate response be?

"We always are evaluating school safety and the appropriate response," says Charlene Briner, Chief of Staff for the Minnesota Department of Education.

Each school is required to have a safety plan in place and response to threats is ultimately decided by the individual district and local law enforcement.

"I think we really need to strike the balance between taking everything seriously but also not over reacting or getting to the point where we're creating a fearful atmosphere," says Briner.

Adding to that potentially fearful atmosphere is social media.

Information, and misinformation, spreads much more quickly and law enforcement says terminology like "lockdown" is often misunderstood.

"When we think of lockdown we always visualize a Columbine type event when in reality it's this whole range of things," says Wade Setter, Superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

For these reasons, Setter believes the media should report on these situations despite the threat of copycats to be a responsible voice in an increasingly cluttered communication world.

"We need to know that the media is a partner in helping us get the truth out and to try and suppress the rumors which can sometimes be far more damaging than the facts ultimately will show," says Setter.

Both Setter and Briner agree that each threat situation is unique and requires a unique response.

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