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What Would You Do?

Teen Makes Threat

THE SITUATION

Sixteen-year-old Paul moved to a new school a few months ago, but hasn’t been able to make any friends. One day, a girl smiled at him during class, but when he tried to talk to her afterwards, she gave him a confused look and walked away.

He watched as she joined her friends and they all started pointing at him and giggling. Paul felt rejected, humiliated…and angry.

He walked over to the group and said in a quiet but firm voice, “Now you’ve done it. You’ll pay for this.”

The girls were shocked. Did this guy just threaten them?

What should they do?

YOU DECIDE.

Which choice should the girls make to handle this situation?

  1. Tell all of their classmates so they know to stay away from the new guy.
    Paul may want to harm them. They should tell all their friends so they know that he’s dangerous and can stay away from him.

  2. Tell their school safety officer, principal, and parents exactly what they heard.
    The girls should immediately tell both school officials and their parents about the possible threat. The adults can then make a decision about which steps need to be taken.

  3. Brush off his comments and do nothing.
    Paul was just letting off steam and being weird. The girls don’t need to tell anyone about the incident.

THE ANSWER

Which one did you choose?

The correct answer is Choice 2.

Pauls’ comments may not have been a direct threat of violence, and he might not have acted on it, but any threat should be taken seriously and reported to the appropriate authorities immediately. It's difficult to determine whether a threat is real or not so it's best to leave those decisions to qualified adults. This may be your school safety officer, your principal, your parents, your school counselor, a friend’s parents or even a mentor. Tell someone who is responsible and can take steps to resolve the issue.

Those authorities can make a determination if further action, such as a psychological intervention or supervision, should be taken. Sometimes, a teen like Paul just needs someone to listen to him.

Remember, every threat should be taken seriously. If you’d like to learn more about reporting a threat, visit schoolsecurity.org.

If you'd like to read more on this topic, read the articles below:

KINDNESS, CHARACTER AND AUTHENTICITY
Three Things that Andre Taught Me

R-E-S-P-E-CT
Respect for Yourself and Others 
(Part 1)

THE FRIENDSHIP PROJECT
Not Leaving Friendships to Chance

A VALUED LISTENER
We All Need Someone to Listen To

Good habits formed at youth make all of the difference in life. Aristotle