Home The school threat epidemic in Shenandoah Valley and the mental health of students: What can schools do?

The school threat epidemic in Shenandoah Valley and the mental health of students: What can schools do?

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The end of 2021 was a nightmare for schools, students, and parents as Shenandoah Valley, where school districts saw an unprecedented rise in school threats.

In December 2021, a school shooting threat at Brookville High School in Lynchburg surfaced on Facebook. Following this, a security threat to Stuarts Draft Middle School in Augusta County caused chaos for lawmakers and the public as all the schools in the state are on high alert.

This article will take a closer look at this issue in Shenandoah Valley, how it is impacting the mental health of students, and how schools can create policies to address the mental health issues among students.

The school threat epidemic in Shenandoah Valley explained

So what’s going on in Shenandoah Valley? Why are students suddenly making these threats and why do schools feel the need to be so vigilant?

The school threat crisis in Shenandoah Valley is the result of a number of factors. First, experts say that social media has created an echo chamber where students are able to construct their own communities online and find peers who validate negative feelings toward authority figures at their schools. This can lead to increased anxiety among many teens as they spend more time on sites like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and most recently, TikTok.

Another reason for the increase in school threats is the prevalence of mass shootings across the nation. According to an article published by EducationWeek, there have been nearly 90 school shooting incidents since 2018.

These events can cause what’s called “secondary or vicarious traumatization” which is when people are exposed to traumatic events through the media or other people. This can lead to symptoms such as nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and flashbacks.

In addition to social media and mass shootings, there are a number of other factors that have contributed to the school threat epidemic in Shenandoah Valley and throughout Southwest Virginia. Some experts say that there has been a decrease in funding for mental health services over the past decade. This has led to a rise in mental health issues among students and they are expressing these concerns through school threats.

What can schools do?

The best way for schools to address this issue is by having counselors on staff who can identify warning signs of student distress. Schools should also consider policies that allow them to be able to respond quickly if there is an immediate threat, but also try to create a climate that is supportive and welcoming to all students.

It’s important for schools to remember that the vast majority of students who make threats do not actually want to hurt anyone. They are often communicating their distress in the only way they know. By developing mental-health policies, schools may be able to assist these kids before they reach a point where violence appears to be the only option.

Schools can also organize healthy activities for students and provide opportunities for them to build community. This can help create a sense of belonging among students who are often outcasts due to their mental health issues, social media use, or interest in video games.

An example of such an event is the national No One Eats Alone Day. This idea was created by the nonprofit, Beyond Differences, to tackle the issue of loneliness among students. No one eats alone day encourages students to invite people into their lunches who might otherwise be sitting alone, and it’s been credited with reducing bullying and social isolation in schools.

Schools can also organize events that encourage students to discuss their feelings and opinions about current events. This can help create a community of trust where teens feel comfortable talking with each other if they are struggling or need support for any reason.

Event ticketing for such an activity would be a great way for schools to raise funds. If students are permitted, they could also sell snacks or drinks at these events in order to make them self-sustaining while still ensuring that all students who attend can afford the entry fee.


The school threat epidemic in Shenandoah Valley is a result of many different factors, including social media, mass shootings, and decreased funding for mental health services. However, the most important factor may be the way that schools respond to these threats.

By creating a safe and welcoming environment, schools can help students who are struggling with mental health issues before they reach a point where they feel the only solution is violence.

Story by Judy Lees



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