Amherst Regional High School officials and Amherst police hosted a social media and internet safety workshop at the high school Monday night following a threat made last month on Facebook that a student had been bringing a gun to school every single day.
Monday night's workshop was actually being planned well before the Facebook posting that led officials to close the high school on Jan. 27. It was held to provide guidance on establishing boundaries in social media and to know how to respond to red flags.
About two dozen parents took seats in the high school library to learn why teens cyber bully, the toll it can take on students and what signs they can look for to see if their student is being harassed online.
"Kid's attitude when he's getting off the computer, if he's being bullied, if he's on a computer and he's happy and he gets off the computer and he's upset, something probably took place," said Officer Marcus Hummer with Amherst Police Department.
The workshop comes as an investigation continues into a student at the school who wrote on a student-led Facebook page last month that he brought a gun to school "mostly every day." School closed for a day and guns were found at the boy's home, but they were locked properly. The student remains out of school.
One parent at the workshop said that incident did not trigger him into coming.
"It seems like there is a new threat every day, so maybe we are getting a little bit jaded to some extent and maybe that is why I don't feel too concerned, but I also feel the school dealt with it appropriately, took the right steps," said parent Mark Lattanzi.
Lattanzi says he came to make sure he is doing everything he can to keep his 14-year-old daughter safe online.
In the crowd, parents were seen taking notes and asking questions about the social media sites accessible to teens such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
"Be a parent, monitor your kids online, set boundaries and don't be afraid to enforce those boundaries," Hummer said.
Amherst police say if racism, homophobia or weapons are mentioned online, among other things, take a screenshot of it or print out the comments and report them to law enforcement.
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