Expert: Ohio shootings may have impacted Attleboro teens

In the wake of the Ohio school shootings, two Attleboro men were arraigned yesterday for allegedly posting threats on Facebook to attack Attleboro High School.

According to a leading psychologist on school shootings, when troubled teens hear about other school shootings it may push them to turn to violence.

“There is no doubt that when students are on the edge of using violence as a solution and they see it being used, they may feel prodded within to use it themselves,” said Dr. William Pollack, an associate clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “I think it gives them a sense they are not completely crazy in doing it.”

Pollack, who was commissioned by the U.S. government to do a study on school shootings after the Columbine attacks, said threats of violence may also become more prevalent after a high-profile shooting. It’s a way to get attention when people are already on edge, he said.

“They’ll finally get their grievances heard,” said Pollack.

In most cases, the students who threaten publicly are looking for help and have not reached a point of violence, said Pollack.

“Many kids who pose a danger never threaten to do anything, and many people who threaten don’t actually pose a danger,” said Pollack. “But all threats should be taken seriously.”

The suspects

Authorities arrested the men Monday after they discovered the threats on Facebook.
Natick Sands, 18, and Ryan Ringuette, 20, both of Attleboro, pleaded not guilty in Attleboro District Court yesterday on charges that they used Facebook to discuss carrying out a Columbinelike attack on Attleboro High School.
Both were charged with a bomb/hijack threat, according to the Bristol County district attorney’s office, and they were each held on $7,500 cash bail.
They are due back in court March 19.


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