Expert: Violent school threats a sign of ‘major crisis’

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A VCU senior professor of Child Mental Health said the United States is encountering an issue which could be playing a factor into the recent rise of violent threats at schools.

“We are at a major crisis as far as violence within our society,” said Bela Sood, M.D., M.S.H.A.

Dr. Sood dropped by 8News to discuss the recent threats that have been made at area schools within the last week.

She said physically children are not equipped to deal with images they see, whether those images are in the media, internet, their community or even in their own home. “They may be witnessing things which really bother them things can include exposure to community violence,” said Dr. Sood.

The VCU professor said a child’s mind is not equipped to deal with certain images. “Their brain is not constructed to handle those very complicated and complex information that is coming at them,” she said. “We need to begin to start taking that issue and begin to see it as a public health crisis.”

Dr. Sood adds thats things happening within a child or teen’s home may also impact their young minds. “When the family structure breaks up, it really produces a significant amount of stress for children because it’s almost as their internal world is imploding,” she said.

8News legal expert, Attorney Russ Stone, said children need to realize the seriousness of their actions. “What kids need to realize is you can’t do these kinds of things,” he said. “It’s stupid. People in this day and age, after 9-11 and all the things that could occur, people take this kind of stuff seriously and I think that children, teenagers don’t understand the seriousness of it.”

Stone added that even if children believe their actions are harmless pranks, they could face serious consequences through the legal justice system.

“It’s very serious for a child to be charged with something like this,” Stone explained. “For a high-school kid particularly, that record will stick with you in Virginia for a long time.

Copyright 2015 WRIC.com

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