The Canton Repository
Early this century — about the time many of the kids in this this year’s high school senior class first came into the world — the Transportation Security Administration got serious about cracking down on anyone who uttered the word “bomb” in an airport or on a plane.
It doesn’t matter whether the culprit is serious or not. Say the word, face the consequences — and those consequences can be harsh.
Every now and then, when some smart-aleck thinks he’ll be the wise guy, he quickly learns the level of his stupidity.
On Wednesday, Stark County Sheriff George Maier drew a similar line in the sand over threats related to violence in schools.
In a directive from his office, in language this Editorial Board supports, Maier made it clear to anyone of any age who would issue — or re-post on social media — a threat related to school violence: Law enforcement will find you, and you will be punished.
“The Stark County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to investigating any individual who utilizes social media in a way to create fear or alarm to others. We will hold them accountable,” Maier said in a news release that came only a few hours after a 16-year-old girl was charged with two felony counts related to alleged threat-making. She and more than a dozen others roughly her age from across the county have learned over the past few days that enough is enough.
“We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” Maier said. “We will be swift and sure with our investigations. There will be no leniency for individuals who indicate they may cause harm to another person.”
To the 99 percent of kids in school who aren’t causing the problems, Maier said: “If you see something, say something.” And don’t forward or re-post any type of threatening message. Instead, follow the lead of the teen who helped Stark deputies move swiftly in Wednesday morning’s case: Take a screenshot of the post and inform authorities.
Maier also had strong words of advice to parents: Talk to your kids. Lock up your guns. You could face penalties for the actions of your children.
Each public school district across Stark County will convey information about the zero-tolerance policy at their high schools and middle schools in coming days, in most cases through conversations between teachers and students in their homerooms.
There is “nothing funny at all about posting pictures with guns or making threats,” county schools Superintendent Joe Chaddock said shortly after meeting with Maier to discuss the sheriff’s position.
Students, teachers and support staff deserve safe schools. No one should fear being in a classroom. Ever.
Let it be clear: There will be zero tolerance for those who would threaten otherwise.