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‘Violence is glorified:’ Trauma counselor weighs in on school threats and copycats

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With the spate of threats against schools this week, and the subsequent arrests, CBS 58 is asking if there may be reasons why there have been so many in such a short time.

Threats have found their way to at least six schools in southeast Wisconsin in the last 10 days.

Leah Pacheco attends Milwaukee's Wedgewood Park International School, where some students were let out early after terrorist threats Wednesday.

She says preparing for the worst and doing drills makes her feel safe.

Still, Pacheco said, "Something can always go wrong, and something tragic could happen."

Three boys younger than 15 years old were arrested for the Wedgewood threats.

"I, automatically as a clinician, would explore what is going on in the home?" said Dr. Maria Inosencia Amarante, a trauma counselor.

She says people respond to stress and trauma in different ways. Some retreat inward and isolate themselves.

"And then you'll have the individuals who will act out and who would want to hurt someone else because they're hurting on the inside," Amarante said.

The number of threats recently concerns Amarante.

"You're always going to have that group of students who are going to do the copycat thing," she said. "They glamorize that type of behavior. The reality is we are living in a community of violence. Violence is glorified."

Jeff Holmes, Germantown School District's superintendent, feels social media doesn't help students' healthy communication.

Germantown High School received a threat this week that was not found to be credible.

Holmes says it's the fourth threat in his seven-year tenure.

"That's one of my greatest fears, is that we do allow it to become a new normal," he said.

Amarante says it can be profoundly difficult on students to go back to school once that feeling of safety is gone.

Having someone just to listen to what they're feeling can really make a difference.

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