On Friday 25 May, an anonymous post targeting schools in North Lakes was made on social media warning people including children to stay at home or fall victim to an American style school mass shooting. There was widespread panic throughout the community with many parents on local Facebook pages concerned whether they should send their kids to school the following Monday and for the rest of the week. Commentary on social media ranged from measured, well thought out concerns, to infighting as some parents claimed “if you send your children to school that week, then you don’t care about their safety.”
On Monday evening, a copycat threat was made online similar to the original one on website, 4Chan, an unmoderated platform where people can post photos and comment anonymously. This website contains highly explicit photo, video and text commentary not suitable for individuals under 18 years of age. I even question the sanity of any adult who post on that site as it has used to bully, harass, slander and intimidate many innocent people online. In less than 24 hours, the teen who made the copycat post was arrested by officers of the Queensland Police Service.
The threats on the copycat post were made against the North Lakes State College so officers from the North Lakes/Mango Hill Police Station established a presence just outside the school to protect students and reaffirm that public safety was a priority to parents, community members and students.
Local MP Chris Whiting, member for Bancroft also attended North Lakes State College at 8-9am on Wednesday morning to speak to concerned parents. Mr Whiting was subject to both encouragement and slander on social media but as a parent and local community member I commend his efforts in getting out there to listen to parents in North Lakes in person, and also keeping his cool online when so many comments were pointed towards him.
“The police response has been incredible. We could not have better trained police to deal with a threat of this nature. The North Lakes community is resilient and I have every faith we can trust our safety in the hands of the Queensland Police Service.” Said Chris Whiting, MP.
Pictured is Chris Whiting just outside North Lakes State College and also pictured is Snr. Sgt. Mick Moate and Ins. Richard Kroon from the North Lakes/Mango Hill Police Station.
What are your thoughts? Did you send your child to school or did they stay home? Please share, I’d love to hear.