Threats, Rumors, Scares Increase Across Okla. Following Conn. Tragedy
OKLAHOMA CITY - Following Friday's tragedy in Connecticut, police throughout the country and Oklahoma have been overwhelmed by threats and rumors of threats on schools.
Now, city administrators in Oklahoma say it seems people are crying wolf. The threats and rumors have people wondering when all of the nonsense is going to end.
"[It's the] they said, she said…that's the kind of thing that you're hearing," Yukon city manager Grayson Bottom said. "You never really can get down to a real threat."
Bottom says, because people are spreading the fire of hysteria on Twitter and Facebook, his city was forced to send additional officers to Yukon Middle School and Yukon High School Wednesday. Now, a large city-wide response is planned for Friday.
"We've even got [city] employees [who] asked for time to be able to go take their kids out of school," Bottom said.
On Tuesday, a shooting near a Tulsa elementary school put people on edge. A Moore middle school student was arrested for bringing a duffle bag of weapons to school on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it was the Yukon rumors that kept police busy and a threat in Bartlesville that shut down every school in that district.
"The parents… and the community should send a very strong signal that we are safe, we are secure," Dr. R. Murali Krishna said.
Krishna is a psychiatrist and president of Integris Mental Health. He just published a book about how to cope with tragedy that impacts communities. The title of Krishna's new book is "Vibrant, To Heal and Be Whole".
Krishna says sounding false alarms is an unhealthy way some people may cope with tragedy.
"Sometimes [people] react…and say I want to be in charge of this kind of rumor and spread [it]… to see how my community is reacting," Krishna said.
The federal government reports that from 1993 to 2009, between 7 and 9 percent of high school students were threatened or injured with a weapon on campus. Most experts say parents should not be afraid to send their children to school because, statistically, school shootings are incredibly rare.