Reaction to bomb threat initiates discussion on sensitivity


photo or infographic by Katherine Lee

After a bomb threat led to a shelter in place, many students made jokes and memes about the situation. In this editorial, features editor Katherine Lee starts a conversation about being more sensitive to these types of situations.

Seconds after the final bell rang for first period on Monday, September 21, Principal Stephanie Hodgins announced a shelter in place for all students and staff on campus. Initially, students assumed the shelter in place was for the tropical storm that was planned to hit Willis, but as students used the power of social media, word was spread that there was a bomb threat on campus. Students immediately began texting their parents and asking questions. “Who is it? Is it an actual bomb? Where is it? Are we going to be okay?” However, the panic did not last long, and soon students were making memes and jokes to cope with the stress and uncertainty of the threat, taking away from the seriousness of the situation.

Sadly, situations like this are a part of life, and learning how to cope in a healthy manner is important.

— Katherine Lee


Threats that could impact lives should be taken seriously by students and staff.

With apps like TikTok, Vine and Snapchat, memes are commonly made for any “real world” situation or trend that is happening, ranging from Tiger King to the BLM movement. While jokes and memes are usually lighthearted and mean no harm, they can take away from the situation happening, especially if it is as serious as a threat to human lives. In this case with the bomb threat, students made edited videos of a Call of Duty video game player bombing the front of the school and were saying a common TikTok phrase of, “Woah calm down Jamal, don’t pull out the nine,” which is a phrase pertaining to someone pulling out a gun, but replacing nine with the word “bomb.”

These memes and jokes are examples of media desensitizing kids to violent acts that threaten their well-being. Now more than ever, TV shows and movies show violence for kids of any age. Teenagers commonly say, “Oh, I am going to kill myself,” or “I just wanna die,” which are serious topics that should not be joked about, especially in a world where suicide and violence is something that that happens so commonly. There is a time and place where jokes are appropriate. It depends on the seriousness of the situation and the people around.

Sadly, situations like this are a part of life, and learning how to cope in a healthy manner is important. By learning how to read the room and assess the situation, people can avoid upsetting friends, family, neighbors and even strangers on the internet. In today’s world, offensive comments, memes and jokes can add to stress and uncertainty and heighten the overall uneasiness.