Given the proliferation of mass shootings in general, and at schools in particular, it’s understandable that parents, school staff, and students are on tenterhooks about safety. The performance of local police and school officials last week should help ease concerns.

A student overheard a conversation among some other students at Dothan Preparatory Academy in which one student apparently said something about “shooting up the school.”

The student who overheard it told his or her parents, who contacted police. An investigation was launched quickly; the student in question was located and officers determined the threat wasn’t credible, even going to the student’s home to determine there were no weapons available to the youngster.

We commend police and school officials for moving quickly to diffuse the situation and determine there was no threat. And we applaud the student who reported the alarming conversation. Had the threat been real, that action may well have saved lives.

Some people may argue that it was just kids talking, and may see the reaction as heavy-handed. We disagree. Just as TSA officers and air marshals should act on any hint of trouble in an airport, any suggestion of “shooting up a school” – even those that may have been made in jest – should be treated as credible until determined otherwise.

This is training that absolutely should begin in the home. Parents and guardians should make sure their children know that some utterances will trigger serious consequences. Don’t say “bomb” in an airport, and be careful how you greet your friend Jack. Don’t yell “fire” in a crowded place unless there’s actually a fire. And for their sakes, advise children and teenagers not to talk about school shootings in a school setting, even in jest.

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