“See something, hear something, say something. It works.”
A message worthy of highlighting from Worcester County Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor, who spoke during last week’s press conference. The words address how a potentially dangerous situation at Berlin Intermediate School last week was averted.
Chills flowed through parents last Friday as Sheriff Matt Crisafulli read through his prepared statement about a potential stabbing on school grounds. The incident was stopped by students who overhead two female students planning to hide a knife near school to be used in an attack. A verbal argument had evidently ensued previously between the students on social media. The 13- and 12-year-old students had a plan and it seemed in motion. The knife was going to be placed outside near a tree line so the student could “physically harm” a classmate at recess, according to a joint press release. Both students who hatched the knife plan confessed and face conspiracy to commit first degree murder, attempted assault in the first degree, possession of a dangerous weapon on school and other charges.
These are serious charges clearly aimed at sending a message to young people threats to injure and assault will not be tolerated. While the severity of the charges carries importance, it’s the actions of the students who reported what they knew to adults at school deserving of credit.
Though disturbing, we all need to open our eyes and understand times are different. Social media is the greatest influencer on our young people. Bullying is rampant. It’s a dreaded reality, but to ignore the evils associated with technology would epitomize naivety.
Investigation later found the 13-year-old girl posted a photo of the knife she planned to use on Snapchat with threatening language. Fellow students saw the picture in addition to overhearing conversations about the plan. The students took what they knew to school leaders who alerted police.
What could have been will never be known. It’s nice to think the threat never would have materialized, but unrealistic considering the knife was brought on school grounds. What is clear is these students deserve praise for doing the right thing.
All too often snitching is viewed as a bad thing by young individuals who fear repercussions from others their age if they report something of concern. There is no logic to this when it comes to safety. The information does not have to be deemed credible by fifth and sixth graders who lack the life skills necessary to identify what’s real. Assumptions should not be made. Thank you to the students who did the right thing. We will never know what they stopped.