By Stephen Tool, MCIN Staff
In response to the recent school teacher threat, the Mineral County School District held one of two school assemblies at the MCHS gym to address the issue, the use of social media and answer to student questions.
Sheriff Stewart Handte and MCHS principal Mike Domagala spoke at the event.
After a brief introduction by Domagala, Handte addressed the issue of social media and the responsibility that comes with its use. He started by asking the students if they looked forward to summer before he got down to business.
“We all like to use social media, we laugh and joke about it, but when it comes to making threats, the fun is no longer there. We want you to understand this will not be tolerated; we will take swift action against those who utilize social media for the purposes of bullying, stalking or threats,” Handte said.
Again and again, Handte stressed to students the consequences of such illegal action. He used the example of the student who made the threat against a teacher. The student is still incarcerated and facing charges along with ifficulty finding another school to take him as a student when the time comes.
“That’s the truth, cold, upfront and personal,” Handte said.
At one point, Handte asked the students to raise their hands if they had ever called someone names. After some students raised their hands Handte said: “Guess what that is– a form of bullying.”
Handte asked the students for questions and was asked for warning signs about students who may pose a threat. Handte responded by saying students should look for sudden changes in behavior or clothing and hairstyle and informing an authority figure to get the student help.
“We want to take a hands on role, that why we’re here, the superintendent, myself and the principal—because we care,” Handte said in closing.
Principal Mike Domagala stepped up to the podium to remind students, “We’re not doing this to scare anybody, we’re doing this to make you aware that it takes all of us together to make this place safe.”
Domagala cautioned students against remaining silent when they know threats are made against them or someone else. “What if that threat got carried out? How would you feel then?” he asked.
Domagala then singled out andcongratulated some junior class students who had made an anti-bullying video. “You guys did an awesome hob. I love that video,” said Domagala as all the students applauded.
“If you see bullying, step in and stop it,” said Domagala. “Bullies are cowards. If you see something or hear something, let us know.”
I’m challenging you guys to step up, not just here, but everywhere,” said Domagala.
After the assembly, several students shared their views with the Independent News.
Student Brooke Zasser said, “I learned to be safer about what you say and do online and to watch other people so you can make sure you know what’s going on.”
Freshman Alyssa Richmond said, “Social media get out of hand. No matter what you do, kidding or not, others don’t know. It’s important to treat everything like an actual threat. If you don’t, the threat can happen.”
Senior Sheldon Self’s take on the assembly: “I didn’t know we had a Facebook threat until later in the week. I don’t think the kid realized the consequences of what he posted. Kids don’t realize how quickly things get around on social networks. Most of the stuff posted on Facebook is negative, Life isn’t about negativity; it’s about achievement.”