Another school shooting tragedy was avoided this week, thanks to alert parents.
The father of Nichole Cevario, 18, alerted officials at Catoctic High School in Thurmont, Maryland that he suspected his daughter was plotting violence towards the school. She was immediately removed from class, and a search of the Cevario’s home yielded a shotgun and bomb-making materials. Investigators also turned up a journal featuring detailed plans for a plot to carry out a mass shooting.
It’s not the first time in recent memory that parents have foiled a school shooting attempt.
In December, parents in Utah noticed their 15-year-old’s behavior was off. After noting that guns were missing from their home, they raced to his school and disarmed him just moments after he fired the first shot in his classroom.
How can parents know when a child’s behavior is truly threatening? Sandy Hook Promise, a group founded and led by families of those killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have launched a campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the signs that someone may be at risk of committing an act of gun violence.
According to the group’s Know the Signs guide, signals that someone is at risk of hurting themselves or others may include:
1. A strong fascination with firearms or acts of mass violence.
2. Aggressive behavior triggered for seemingly minor reasons.
3. A sudden change in academic performance or aspirations for the future.
4. Real or perceived feelings that they are picked on or persecuted by others, and isolation from others.
5. Unsupervised or illegal access to firearms.
6. Overt threats of violence, which may be verbal, written, pictures or videos. Eighty percent of school shooters told someone of their plans ahead of time.
Parents, other family members, friends or teachers should share their concerns with school officials and police immediately, as did the parents of the teens in the Utah and Maryland incidents. At the very least, reporting concerns could lead to help for the teen, and at best, could avert a horrible tragedy.