Ballarat Catholic school in shooting threat scare

Victorian police have confirmed that a student at Ballarat's Loreto College made a threat on the internet to carry out a Virginia Tech-style shooting but her mother says that the school overreacted to the girl's "venting a bit of anger".

While details are still sketchy about the plot, Ballarat detectives are investigating claims that the girl planned to shoot classmates at a school assembly planned for 17 or 18 May, the Herald-Sun reports.

"How much damage and who she wanted to shoot we don't know," a police spokesman has told the Geelong Advertiser.

It also reported the College had postponed another school event because of the threat.

But the school is refusing to discuss the threat, despite confirming a student had been forced to study off-campus after lodging a message on a Internet site.

So far, no charges appear to have been laid over the threat.

"The message was placed on a website not associated with Loreto College," a spokeswoman said on behalf of the principal Judith Potter, in a response to the Advertiser.

"Immediate action was taken to investigate this issue and, as a result of that, the student's family was notified and one of her parents collected her from school. The school community was notified.

"Loreto College takes this matter very seriously. (We have) undertaken a number of steps involving relevant authorities and we will work with them to resolve this matter.''

The Ballarat Catholic Education Office described the threat as a "welfare issue" and would not discuss the matter, except to say the school and Catholic authority was trying to keep "as low key as possible" about the incident.

The Age says that the student's comment were made on Vampire Freaks, a social networking website.

However, the student's mother accused the school of over-reacting to the internet writings.

"It was just her venting a bit of anger and it was not meant to be taken seriously whatsoever," she told Channel Nine.

Schoolgirl plan to shoot students (Herald-Sun, 30/5/07)
Student's massacre fantasy on net (The Age, 30/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Loreto College, Ballarat

Ban guns, Christians leaders plea in wake of US shooting (CathNews, 18/4/07)

30 May 2007