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What school systems are doing to identify possible threats to students

Posted at 10:52 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 23:24:18-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- When Alexa Miednik accidentally bumped into Nikolas Cruz as she evacuated her high school during an active shooter situation, she spoke to her former classmate.

"As I was speaking to him he seemed very um, he was very troubled in middle school, so as I was speaking to him, I said I'm surprised you weren't the one who did it, and he just gave me a huh?" Miednik said.

Police said Cruz escaped the school unnoticed by running out with other students, and many students who talked to reporters echoed Miednik's thoughts about the 19-year-old now accused of shooting and killing 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and injuring 14 more.

Nikolas Cruz

"Honestly, a lot of people were saying it was going to be him, stuff like that, we actually, a lot of kid threw jokes around like that, that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it. That's crazy," another student said.

According to multiple reports, Cruz was suspended from the school several times, and eventually got expelled and moved to another school to get his GED.

In fact, CNN is reporting that police officials say Cruz wrote social media posts so threatening he was twice reported to the FBI.

"It's unbelievable," Richmond parent Cindy Anderson said.

Those facts have many local parents questioning what school systems in Virginia are doing to try to prevent someone so troubled from shooting kids at school.

"Every day you worry about something," Anderson said.

We found out the General Assembly passed legislation in 2013 mandating all school systems in Virginia provide threat assessment teams to uncover any persons whose behavior is threatening or concerning and deal with them before they turn violent.

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services created a video that outlines how the teams operate to prevent violence.

To watch the video, click here.

"Targeted school violence is the end result of an understandable and often discernible process of thinking and behavior which the threat assessment team, with the right training and processes, can act upon," a narrator said in the video.

"A critical aspect of this process involves school community members reporting any potential threats in a timely and accurate manner," a narrator also said in the video.

Something RPS parent Cindy Anderson said she plans to remind her kids to do ASAP.

"Just us having this conversation it makes me more aware. I'll probably go home tonight and talk to them about it again. You can never talk to them too much," Anderson said.