Jake Barokas, Washington Teen, Spreads Positive Message Following School Shooting Threat (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:
Print

When Skyline High School in Sammamish, WA received a shooting threat, junior Jake Barokas had a two-word response: "Be nice."

On September 19, someone claiming to be a student at Skyline High School posted an image on 4chan saying he was going to open fire on the school commons in the morning with a machine gun and then take his own life. The image quickly went viral among the Skyline High School community, and school the following day was canceled.

Barokas used the day off to film his response to the event. In his video, he explains, "I just saw this unification of my peers all over Facebook. Everyone from different social classes was talking and posting and commenting, because they all had this common sense of fear. Why not unify over a common goal to be nice?"

Throughout his five-minute talk, he continually returns to a message of kindness and community. He says:

Next time you're at school, push yourself. Go out of your way to make a difference in someone else's life, to bring joy and pleasure to someone you think might be having a hard day, might not have a lot of friends, might be falling asleep in class because they got no sleep last night. Whatever the reason, it doesn't really matter, it should just be that we want to help others and be nice. If we all start small, we can bring change on a larger scale. We can make a difference in our community so students don't feel the need to write threats like the one that we encountered.

Fellow student Christina Black shares Barokas's sentiment. "As a whole, I feel like this school is not that stereotypically mean or anything. But I was ashamed when I heard reports that we were, and I feel like we've come out on top, and better."

Since the video was uploaded on September 21, it has been shown in schools across the country. Barokas has heard from hundreds of students he doesn't know. "The reception has just been amazing and I'm glad that that message has touched people," he told KOMO 4 News.

Other teens have been speaking out against gun violence. Huff Post Teen blogger Shireen Younus wrote firsthand about the issue after a student opened fire on her first day of school at Perry Hall High School. And in response to the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, blogger Naomi Menezes wrote a call to action.

What do you think of Barokas' message? Tell us in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen.