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Tue, July 16

Editorial: 'Just kidding' just won't cut it

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Kudos to the staff and students of Prescott High School and the Prescott Police Department for their handling of the latest school shooting threat.

For the second time in less than a month, a Prescott High School student was arrested after making threats to hurt other students.

The other incident was Nov. 13 after threatening graffiti was found.

Both situations were handled well by school staff and the police - communication seemed to be excellent between staff, students, police and parents.

Principal Stephanie Hillig stressed to parents that the school takes all threats seriously, with potentially "stringent discipline" even for hoaxes. Hillig sends emails to parents, keeping them up-to-date on the current situation.

The student claims he was "just kidding" after using social media to threaten fellow students.

In this unsure time of protests, shootings and terrorism, "just kidding" just won't cut it.

That's the message Hillig sends to her students and their parents.

She notes that state law says a hoax or threat to a school institution is considered a Class 4 felony.

According to the Arizona Revised Statutes, convictions of Class 4 felonies carry sentences between one year and three years and nine months.

Also, Hillig wrote to parents that the actions of students led to the quick resolution.

Keeping lines of communication open between students, parents and school staff is critical. Not even the most fastidious parent has time to monitor all the postings online from their child's social circle.

Reinforcing to children that it is OK to report threats is what will hopefully save schools from more tragedy. School staffers who take those threat reports seriously are critical as well.

Keep up the diligent work, folks.


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