Avoiding the trend of violence
October 21, 2007
About a year ago, Steamboat Springs High School faced something that was quite new to this small, quiet community – a bomb threat.
It was made fairly clear that we had no prior experience with this situation, because barely anyone actually took it seriously. Numerous students were absent the day (or week, in some cases) of the bomb threat, not because they were actually fearful about a bomb, but because they saw it as a kind of “Get out of School Free” card.
It seemed hilarious that a bomb threat would be written on the door of a bathroom stall. Jokes were made continually about the whole situation. It just did not seem possible that anything like this could actually occur in Steamboat.
Recently another bomb threat was made. Again, students did not really take the threat seriously, but the consequences were seen in the new restrictions and procedures in the school.
To many, it appears the new rules are unnecessary and unfair, but at the same time, it is a safeguard against any possible dangers that might arise in the future. We are now developing a safety routine that will hopefully prevent and protect against any endangerment of the school or its students.
The hope is to avoid the trend that occurs when schools get larger. As the population grows, more people will flock to small communities. In bigger cities, violence is inevitable because of the amount of people and ideas crammed together into a sort of “mini-society.”
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When conflicting beliefs and young people are forced together like this, violence can occur. This can result in school shootings, bomb threats, fights, etc. The school is endeavoring to prepare for any potential future dangers by setting up new rules that help keep the school as safe as possible.
The problem lies in making sure that the safety setups do not go too far – and follow the trend toward inner-city extreme violence and prevention.
No one can really imagine having to pass through metal detectors in our tiny town, yet, we came close for a week last year when the school administration searched our bags as we entered the school.
If Steamboat Springs follows the trend of violence and does not take early preventative action, there could be much worse consequences than having to succumb to occasional searches.
There could be a real threat. The worst mistake we could make is to laugh off the false threats and miss a real one. This is a lot like the classic fable of the boy who cried wolf – there may be a collection of false warnings, so we must remain wary in case there is ever a real hazard.
This does not mean that we must become obsessed with safety, but that we should just keep in mind that these sorts of things do happen, and that we have the power to prevent many of them.
The key is to find a balance by taking the threats seriously, but not letting them interfere with education.
A good example of this can be seen by how the most recent bomb threat was handled: the students were informed, but the school was not locked down or closed.
By finding this balance, it is possible to avoid entering the trend towards violence and extreme caution and maybe find a way to safely get an education.