Vargas: We are living in a state of fear where we are afraid to send kids to school


Hyper-vigilance has become our reaction to the tragedy in Parkland, FL. Across the country, school authorities and law enforcement agencies are investigating and responding to ever-increasing numbers of perceived and real threats in our schools.

In Riverside County, a social media threat to Norco Community College has resulted in the arrest of a 27-year-old man who was found to be a convicted felon in possession of two AR-15 rifles, two handguns, and a large amount of ammunition. The Riverside Sheriff’s Department worked with other agencies to locate and arrest the man.

In Whittier, a 17-year-old student was detained and two AR-15 rifles were seized from his residence after a school security guard overheard a conversation in which the student threatened to shoot up the school. According to the Associated Press, the student claimed to be joking.

In Salt Lake City, UT a 15-year-old high school student made a threat on Snapchat posting a picture holding a gun and the words, “Don’t Come to School Tomorrow.” Authorities responded and arrested the student. According to news reports, he thought he was just being funny.

Sadly, you can never underestimate the immaturity and irresponsibility of some teenagers, even about something as serious as killing people. Luckily there have been a host of eloquent, responsible young men and women who have taken the issue by the horns with courage and maturity.

The Anaheim Police Department today is fielding numerous calls regarding threats of a school shooter that are part of a national hoax. Despite reassurances that there is no threat, parents are still fearful.

During an internet search, I found hundreds of news reports from across the country of threats to high schools being investigated. The list seemed to keep growing with every search.

In response, untold numbers of students have been kept home from school by nervous parents.

After following up on rumors, the City of Corona Police Department has launched a rumor-control page to reassure anxious parents.

Due to a recent series of unfounded threats and rumors of possible violence directed at schools in our community, the…

Posted by City of Corona Police Department on Thursday, February 22, 2018

We are living in a state of fear where our every day lives have been impacted by the perceived and real threats to our children’s safety while attending school.

“See something, say something” is working. It seems mind-boggling when suddenly all of us start seeing a lot more of what is going on. Our kids are now reporting in record numbers things they see on social media that even implies a threat.

This is not a bad thing, I would say. The challenge for schools and law enforcement agencies will be digging through all the chaff and identifying the real threats from the hoaxes. I’m certain this task is keeping agencies busy all over the country.

The real challenge is creating an environment where parents will once again feel their children are safe in school.

Joe is a retired captain. He can be reached at