Caring for kids in crisis amid recent school threats

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CAPITAL REGION, NY (News10)-An Averill Park high school student is arrested after allegedly making a threat against the school.

The arrest follows other recent alleged threats made within other Capital Region school districts and a deadly school school in Michigan.

On Wednesday, the University at Albany Police said they were investigating a social media threat aimed at the campus.

Also this week the Averill Park Central Schools Superintendent announced that a high schooler was arrested for allegedly making a threat against his school.

The message went on to read that at no time were students or staff in immediate danger.

But these are just two of a handful of other similar recent alleged threats.

On Nov 23rd, Bethlehem Central High School officials said they received a threat from a student wanting to target others with violence.

On Dec 2nd, Van Antwerp Middle School in Niskayuna found a threat of a possible gun drawn on a bathroom wall.

Some of these threats were made after a deadly school shooting in Michigan. 4 students killed.

“Our youth are on social media. They are watching that,” said Shelia Wood of The Family Counseling Center of Fulton County.

Her office deploys their Mobile Crisis Unit when kids express thoughts of hurting themselves or others.

“We ask kids very specific questions. How are you going to carry that out? We want to know specifically. Because if they are serious, they are going to have a plan and they are going to have intent,” said Wood.

She says they contact law enforcement if they feel a threat is credible. But they also make important connections for kids.

“So, our youth should be evaluated. Do they have a mental health diagnosis? Should they be in counseling? Should they be taking medication? Should they be connected to a psycho-social rehabilitation?”

“What might you say directly to a young person who is watching this, who might be in crisis or having violent thoughts?” asked News10’s Anya Tucker.

Wood answered, “That they’re not alone. That there’s someone here who is willing to listen to them. Teachers, caregivers, someone that they can talk to, a best friend. Just someone who’s going to listen. The resources are there. It’s our responsibility to get those resources out there to our youth.”

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