Counselors urge students to debrief after social media threats

Local News
Children writing in class.JPG

Children writing in class. (Source: CBS 4)

Social media threats geared towards several Valley schools caused a stir in the community Tuesday. 

Now, local health care professionals are encouraging students to debrief.

This week, two years ago, a teen gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at a high school Parkland, Florida killing 17 people and wounding 14. 

This week in the valley, 18-year-old Gustavo Garcia of San Juan, made headlines after he posted photos on Snapchat with a gun and sending threats to PSJA High, PSJA North and Robert Vela High School.

“We have heard of threats throughout the country, but now that we have incidents locally maybe there was a thought that it couldn’t happen here,” Director of Assessment at South Texas Behavioral Health Center, Linda Cantu said.

South Texas Behavioral Health experts say students can experience post-traumatic symptoms from life-threating events.

“They may have a lot of fear. They may have feelings of confusion as to whatever revolved around the event. There may be a problem with concentration or learning,” she said.

Professionals say there is typically no proper way to prepare for extreme threats, it is important for students to debrief and get validation from adults or parents. 

“Whatever their concerns are from their perspective, they get a listening ear and somebody who’s going to be sensitive to their reaction,” Cantu explained.

While Garcia is behind bars, both PSJA and Edinburg school districts, urge students to speak up and report suspicious activity even it is online.

South Texas Behavioral Health Center offers free mental health assessments and it is open 24 hours, seven days a week. 

You can contact the center at this number (888) 977-1400.

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