School threats abound across the state

Posted at: 10/12/2012 6:45 PM
Updated at: 10/12/2012 6:59 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Four students who allegedly planned to shoot up Belen Middle School in a Columbine-style attack are in custody. This is just the latest in what appears to be a recent number of school threats around the state.

Licensed social worker Peggy Moore told KOB Eyewitness News 4 this is part of a deeper underlying problem.

"I don't know why so much now, other than the fact that we do have a lot of fear in our society right now," Moore said.

When a student makes a school-wide threat, the fear is contagious for the whole community, as in the latest incident at Belen Middle School.

"For the kids, I think the fear is real because they don't quite understand or comprehend what this threat really is," Principal Sheila Armijo said.

Police arrested four, 8th grade students who allegedly planned a shooting massacre. Armijo said, more than half, or almost 400 student, did not show up for class Friday; adding, about a third who did, also came with their parents.

"I'm pretty confident we got the people who are making the threats so I'm pretty confident in telling the students they have absolutely nothing to worry about," Armijo said.

But it is not just in Belen. Albuquerque Academy was evacuated Thursday because of a bomb scare. And last week, two middle schoolers were expelled from Tony Hillerman, accused of planning a mass shooting.

"They see a lot of violence, they don't always understand the consequences of violence and they may have a load of unresolved trauma in their life and so they act it out," Moore said.

The more people feed into the fears instilled by select troubled adolescents, the more the cycle may continue to repeat, Moore said.

"We need to look at why are we so afraid of things, is there really good reason to be afraid or is this just a contagious thing that's going on in our society right now without a real basis," Moore said.

It all comes down to the relationship parents have with their children and being in tune with what is going on in their lives, so that they don't feel they need to resort to this kind of negative attention, Moore said.