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What is "Relevant Information"?
What sorts of things do adults need to know when a threat has been uttered?
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Wonder what sort information may be relevant when you hear a rumored threat? The short answer is "every detail you can provide." If that is too vague, take a look at this list.

Relevant information about people spreading rumors of a threat:

  • name, age and family situation
  • how they claim to have heard the threat (first hand or through rumors)
  • how close they are to the person said to be making the threats
  • the nature of their relationship with the person said to be making the threats (are they family, friends, enemies, ex-friends)
  • the reputation of the person or persons spreading the rumor, including any reasons they may have to lie
  • when the threat was uttered compared to when you heard the rumor

* Again, don't you decide if a rumor is true or false or if the source is reliable. Don't put this burden on yourself. All you need to do is tell your parents or school officials all the information you have. Let them weigh out the evidence.

In a situation where a person is threatening to harm or kill others, you should give little thought to that person thinking you are "ratting them out." People often make several threats over a period of time before acting on them. The sooner you draw adult attention to these threats, the better the chances that the situation will be brought under control.

If you are worried about retaliation, make sure that you express your fears clearly. Demand that your name, (and your sources if you are working from a rumor) be left out of any meetings with the student in question and their parents. Say that for your safety, you want to be treated as an anonymous source. Point out that the type of person who would make death threats is the type of person who would hold a grudge. Ask that they reward your courage by protecting your identity until (and only if) it becomes necessary to reveal who you are to authorities.

Remember, you can phone in anonymous tips to your local police and still provide detailed information.

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