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Preventing school shootings before they happen

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Local teachers and school resource officers are learning how to identify school shooters before they strike.

On Friday, they were trained by national experts at the Region 7 Behavioral Health Board children's mental health subcommittee's East Idaho School Safety Summit.

"We want to be more proactive and preventative," Bonneville County Probation Officer Dustin Park said. "So the idea behind this is if we can get this information out to the general public, to our to our SROs, to our education professionals, teachers, administrators and even beyond that." 

"We want those people equipped with this information and these tools. That way we can be proactive and we can prevent these things from ever happening."

According to national school safety expert Dr. Peter Langman, often a shooter will let people know what they're planning or even post their intentions on social media as was the case in the shooting at Rigby Middle School in May 2021.

"They can be very explicit," Dr. Langman said. "(For example) 'I'm going to come back with a gun and I'm going to kill people.'The trouble is, often they're very young and their friends don't take them seriously."

"So many shootings that happened could have been prevented if people had passed along the information and someone could look into it to determine if it's a serious threat or a false alarm."

Even if the killer doesn't outright announce their intentions, Langman says there are darker, more subtle warning signs.

"Anyone who's trying to get guns illegally, for example," Langman said. " have to wonder why they can't just buy guns legally. Why are they trying to get them illegally? What are they planning to do with those guns?"

"Even if they don't announce what they're going to do, any sense that they're obsessed with previous killers, maybe quoting previous killers, dressing like them or trying to get guns or bombs, those are warning signs that need to be investigated, even in the absence of any explicit threat."

According to Dr. Langman, it's the responsibility of parents, students and teachers to pass on any suspicious activity to the proper authorities.

It's better to have a false alarm than another tragedy.

For more information on the warning signs of school gun violence, click HERE.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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