In recent years, there has been an increase in cases of individuals making threats against schools and universities in the United States. These threats often result in heightened security measures, school closures, and fear among students and staff. One such case occurred at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where a former student was charged with making threatening comments towards the university.
The incident began in March of 2019 when Kyle Frenette, a former student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, made comments on social media that were perceived as threatening towards the university. Frenette had been a student at the university but had dropped out a few years prior. In his comments, he stated that he was going to come to campus and “shoot up” the university.
The comments were reported to the university police department, who began an investigation into the matter. The university also issued a safety alert to students and staff, notifying them of the threat and asking them to report any suspicious activity.
The investigation revealed that Frenette did not have any weapons or means to carry out the threat. He was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats, which is a felony offense in Wisconsin. Frenette’s case was later transferred to federal court, where he faced additional charges related to the threats.
The incident at the University of Wisconsin-Stout is just one example of the growing problem of threats against schools and universities in the United States. According to a report by the Educator’s School Safety Network, there were over 3,000 reported threats against schools in the United States in the 2017-2018 school year. This represents a significant increase from previous years and highlights the need for increased safety measures and vigilance on the part of school administrators and law enforcement.
In response to the growing threat of school violence, many schools and universities have implemented various safety measures to protect students and staff. These measures include the use of metal detectors, security cameras, and increased police presence on campus. Some schools have also implemented active shooter drills and training for students and staff.
While these measures can help to prevent and respond to threats, they also have limitations. For example, metal detectors and security cameras can be expensive to install and maintain, and they may not be effective in preventing all types of threats. Additionally, active shooter drills can be traumatizing for students and staff and may not prepare them for all possible scenarios.
In addition to physical safety measures, schools and universities can also take steps to address the root causes of school violence. This includes providing mental health resources and support for students, addressing issues of bullying and harassment, and promoting a positive school culture and climate.
Mental health is a critical component of school safety, as many incidents of school violence are committed by individuals who are struggling with mental health issues. Schools can provide counseling services and resources for students who are struggling with mental health issues, as well as training for teachers and staff to identify and respond to signs of mental distress.
Bullying and harassment are also significant contributors to school violence. Schools can take steps to prevent and address these issues by implementing anti-bullying policies, providing training for teachers and staff on how to recognize and respond to bullying, and promoting a positive and inclusive school culture.
Finally, promoting a positive school culture and climate is essential for preventing school violence. Schools can create a sense of community and belonging by providing opportunities for student involvement and engagement, promoting diversity and inclusion, and celebrating student achievements.
In conclusion, the incident at the University of Wisconsin-Stout highlights the growing problem of threats against schools and universities in the United States. While physical safety measures can help to prevent and respond to threats, addressing the root causes of school violence is essential for creating a safe and inclusive school environment. Schools and universities can take steps to provide mental health resources, address issues of bullying and harassment.