First Amendment rights are a privilege that should not be abused

With the recent March 2 events at BHS, it is important to acknowledge while everyone has First Amendment right of freedom of speech, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

BHS HiHerald acknowledges and appreciates the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment. It allows the HiHerald to create and publish articles. However, this privilege should not be abused. 

While the HiHerald utilizes the first amendment as a way to publish, there is a line to be drawn with freedom of speech when it endangers the safety of others. One area freedom of speech does not protect is true threats. This line was crossed during the March 2 lockdown. 

False news and fake screenshots were plastered on all social platforms while in lockdown. These statements spread throughout BHS very quickly, causing unneeded panic between students, teachers, staff and parents.

With the popularity of social media, news spread fast. While quietly hunched in corners, students texted updates to parents and friends. The majority of what was posted on social media did not come directly from the Bismarck Police Department or Bismarck Public Schools. Information spread like wildfire. In the moment, it can be difficult to decipher what is true. Thankfully, the police department works hard to provide information they have thoroughly checked. 

Because of the extra added step of fact-checking everything, the information the police department releases is not always instant. Even though the process takes longer, getting told correct updates is more settling than constantly being told fake statements on social media.

Purposefully creating false information during times like this is an act of cyber terrorism, using technology to create widespread fear. These actions need to have consequences here at BHS. People behind the threats, along with the students who posted fake news, need to be held accountable for the fear they caused throughout the school. 

As a student body, we must relay correct information the best we can, or not at all. The only way to stop false information from being spread is to think before posting. If the information that is being posted is not true or there is no benefit of it being posted, then stop and think.

Thanks to the response of the Bismarck Police Department, the threat at BHS was safely handled and students and staff were let out.