Just a month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School carnage, it's hard to believe that any student anywhere would joke about someone bringing a gun to school.
But a Belleville West high school student tweeted such a comment last week, causing unnecessary work for the Belleville Police and anxious moments for students and parents alike. Turns out there never was a gun.
Superintendent Jeff Dosier suggested that this unfortunate situation be turned into a learning opportunity, so just in case anyone is still confused: Comments about bringing a gun to school are no joke. Such remarks will be treated seriously and thoroughly checked out by law enforcement, even if the person says it was just a joke. It's just as serious as if someone joked about a bomb in an airport.
This is also a lesson about social media platforms like Twitter. People need to be careful what they post because messages can spread like wildfire. Comments once put into cyberspace probably cannot be taken back effectively.
Parents and students also need to understand that anyone who jokes about guns at school will be disciplined and maybe charged with a crime, even if it turns out there was no actual threat. There's nothing funny about such comments and zero tolerance for them is appropriate.