Brenham Police Department Media Release on School Shootings
Our local school campuses in the Brenham area have already seen several threats of violence through social media and notes passed among students, threatening to “kill” other students and/or teachers. Unfortunately, these threats have become all too common place across our nation, with one of the most recent occurring at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit, Michigan several weeks ago. Even more concerning is that many of these threats were carried out, resulting in unnecessary deaths and life-long injuries.
The Brenham Police Department, along with other area law enforcement agencies to include the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Blinn College Police Department, routinely train and prepare on how to respond to such events if they occur. Fortunately, many of these threats are determined to be unfounded after investigation. Still, such threats can create extreme anxiety and concerns for safety, for parents, students, educators, and others.
The U.S. Secret Service’s Analysis of Targeted School Violence report suggested a potential profile of attackers, after extensive studies of school shootings. 83% of the suspects were male, the average age of the shooter was 15 years old, 7 of the shooters committed suicide during the act while 2 were killed by police, 91% had experienced previous disciplinary, behavioral, and/or mental health issues, 37% reported being “bullied” by fellow students, 77% had access to weapons at home and knew how to use them, 71% came from “broken homes”, 61% of the attacks involved firearms while 39% were of edged weapons, and 7% had additional weapons available.
Again, most threats received are found to be invalid. But no threat can be discounted. Chief Ron Parker has suggested that once students, parents, or others are made aware of a threat, immediately notify school administrators and law enforcement. The two will immediately start working together to get to the source, investigate, and attempt to mitigate the threat before it develops. If the threat is discovered through social media, do not share it with others. The numerous “shares” can make it more challenging for investigators to discover the source of the information and to discover if the threat is valid or not. Parents should closely monitor their children’s social media accounts for concerning comments, activity, etc. Weapons at home should be securely stored and checked often. Ammunition should be stored and secured separately from firearms.
Resources should be sought for children and others who are experiencing challenging life issues, behavioral issues, mental challenges, etc. Sources for assistance can be sought from school administrators and law enforcement, as well as other local mental health agencies, etc. Parents should have serious discussions with their children on this issue, such as how they should respond to such an event at school, and other pertinent topics that could jeopardize their safety.
The Brenham Police Department and other law enforcement agencies know these are challenging times for our youth. While we like to think our children are safe, there are evil people out there who would cause harm to others so we must always be aware. We will continue to work closely with school administrators in addressing these topics. A multidisciplinary threat assessment team is in place. Concerning behaviors have been identified. A reporting system is in place. Police will become involved if a threat is deemed to be remotely valid. Training has been provided at various levels to ensure a proper response.
It is most important for parents to have a discussion with their children. With the world we live in, no such threats will be taken lightly. Authorities will treat every threat as real and as such, it is no joking matter. A child’s life and their future can be destroyed if making such a threat, even if there is no serious intent in carrying it out. Please educate your children.
Chief of Police, Brenham Police Department