There's a sick new game being played in East Transcona the last few weeks, and it continued on Monday. Another threat to an area school, seemingly being transmitted via Snapchat and another social media platform.
Understandably this has the community edgy, and it was made worse by the arrests last week in an unrelated crime, where a food delivery driver was greeted by 2 teens and one so-called adult with a firearm. When those perps were traced to a nearby residence Winnipeg police found all sorts of guns and ammo in the house.
The combination of real threats and real firearms in the neighbourhood with seemingly fake (for now) threats, is getting families in the neighbourhood upset. Kids who should be in daycare or school classes are learning more about lockdown than anything else. Casual help like daycare workers are losing wages, parents are losing time from work, and kids are losing the absolute sense of safety that should be the norm when they are in an educational setting.
There's no doubt these copycats - at least one so far who was apprehended is believed to be attending in the school division - have problems with immaturity, parental supervision, bad influences, or some other factor.
The question is, how should these situations be dealt with. What do we as a community do if the consequences of a threat are no longer an effective deterrent?
Suspensions and expulsions are the norm -after all, who wants someone found to be responsible for this type of crime accepted as part of their school community - but the threats are not only towards the buildings. According to a source in the know, one was directed to a specific student and for a specific future date.
This goes far beyond the adolescent daydream of using an anonymous call to the school office to get an exam delayed, and enters the realm of domestic terrorism.
If these threats were tied to ideology, CSIS would become involved. But they aren't, and they are tied to technology that is not always immediately traceable. If this persists, and especially if this spreads beyond Transcona to other areas, some new tactics to preserve school safety - whether preventative or reactive - might be required, along with more substantial consequences. Ideas, most welcome.