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School Threats

I am freaking out.

Yes, as we all know, I am a self-proclaimed-full-fledged ‘drama queen’ (no one is denying that) but I am a little freaking out, and for good reason.

What is a parent supposed to do when they receive an alarming voice mail from the school principal, late in the evening, directing all of the parents to go to the schools website, and find this announcement posted:

Dear Parent/Guardian of Student(s):

At dismissal today, a threat was discovered. It was written on the wall of a boys’ bathroom. I followed the established procedures and called the Police Department in order to begin an investigation of this matter.

School will be open tomorrow with police presence.

Please be assured that our main concern is for the safety of your child.

Sincerely,
Principal’s Name

Um. Yeah.

[insert a complete state of panic]

What kind of threats?

[Death threats? Bomb threats?]

Do I send my son to school?

Do I keep him home?

What if this is serious?

That announcement sounds pretty serious and down right scary. In this day and age I wouldn’t put anything too far out of the grasp of my imagination. And I guess the school can’t either.

On the other hand…I don’t know if I am just over-reacting?

What if this whole thing is just a silly prank?

But what if this IS real? And what if something terrible did happen?

I wonder….

[insert every conceivable ‘worst case scenario’]

I have never been in a situation like this before. It is very difficult to separate emotion from rational thinking when it comes to the safety and welfare of your ONLY CHILD.

What would you have done?

Would you have sent your child to school?

Or kept them home?

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  • I would be finding out exactly what the threat is and if I didn’t get a straight answer, I would keep him home. Then I would vent my panic by calling the police to find out what happened, then the news stations, newspaper, state police, etc…

    That should keep you occupied for awhile. I know it would me!

  • Ditto to Dazd. When in doubt, keep him out. (I just made that up.)

  • I would be terrified, so I completely understand how you feel. I would call the principal’s office and demand to know what the specific threats are and if they have an idea who is behind them.

  • I do believe that they HAVE to tell you as a parent what the direct threat was if they are asked. They can skirt the issue by putting out a posting like that, but They have to realize that they’ll be getting a million calls. Go above and beyond calling the school, call the superintendent’s office. They don’t want a widespread panic, even though they’ve already created it! We deal with this when the military base has a problems. Our school does lockdown drills, as well as fire drills. It was very scary to Tierney the first time she encountered it. I agree with Omyword!’s perfect poem!! Why run the risk???

  • I would keep him home! It really irritates me how school’s handle these things. We had a similar situation recently. The principal sent out an email and put a notice on the website that there had been a threat but it was under control and police were on site. “Please don’t keep your kids home.”

    Turns out the threats were that a student was going to bring a gun to school and shoot someone! The student who made the threats WAS IN SCHOOL the next day! Nothing happened, but still, I was livid. If it’s that serious of a threat, I think we deserve to know the specifics!

  • In the times we live in, my child (if I had one) would have stayed home. I would have found a way to go up to the school (or send a rep) to find out the nature of the matter. With what is going on in this world and all the crazy kids and their antics, I wouldn’t dare put my child in harms way.

  • i hate to admit it,, but i too would have kept him home… i think the school is probably overreacting to a non existent problem,, and there is some kid somewhere laughing his ass off to have created such a stir over something he wrote on the bathroom wall… but in the even that i was wrong… i would have kept him home…..

  • The best friend

    Sounds to me like its fighting between students. Hoping its not involving serious weaponry. I wouldnt worry, but I know you will. If it was really serious they would have given more details. dont ya think? KEEP HIM HOME ANYWAY. lol. i love when they get the day off.

  • Meleah

    Dazd:
    Thats a great idea. As I have no idea WHAT these ‘threats’ are all about. They kinda left us in the dark with that notice.

    Lisa – OMyWord:
    ha ha ha… you are so cute.

    Ingrid:
    From One Mother to another Mother….you feel the same exact way as I do.

    ChefMom:
    Im sure they are flooded with phone calls. I am going to use the call list that I have and speak with some of the other parents to see if they found out anything….and then I will call the school and ask them to be more specific.

    Terri:
    Holy scary as hell. Why was that kid allowed BACK to school? That seems very wrong to me. I think that calls for an immediate suspension if not totally kicked out of the school all together. These things HAVE TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. In my situation I don’t think they have any idea who wrote the threats. But when and if they find out, I expect the punishment to fit the crime. Even if this was a Prank or a Joke, whoever did that needs to understand that you cant play ‘games’ like that these days.

    Urban:
    Good call. (you will be a wonderful parent one day)

    Paisley:
    “i think the school is probably overreacting to a non existent problem,, and there is some kid somewhere laughing his ass off to have created such a stir over something he wrote on the bathroom wall…” ME TOO….. ME TOO.

    *Since I was considering the possibility of a bunch of kids playing a prank…what if my son was somehow involved, or knew who did it, or worse, what if he was NOT involved and got BLAMED for something he didn’t do. This whole thing has my head spinning in circles.

    Jen:
    Hmm…I hadn’t considered the simple ‘fighting between kids’ concept. Ive been off Worst Case Scenario land.

  • cmk

    Um, I kept my kids home from school when I THOUGHT we were going to get a bad snow storm (and they walked two short blocks to school), so you can guess what I would have done in this situation! Scary times indeed.

  • Go look up how many schools exist in the U.S. and then think about the number of stories you are familiar with from the news about school shootings and such. The percentage is extremely low and should put you at ease a bit.

    Yes, your son could be that statistic, or my kids could be that statistic. But there are a lot of statistics out there that could get us. If it is going to happen, then it’s going to happen. The greatest disservice that our government and media have done to the public is to persist this constant state of fear and panic.

    You have to use reasonable care, but at some point you also have to trust people. Your kid’s school officials don’t want to have something horrible happen on their watch. They might not care about your particular son, but they do care about their faces appearing on national television in association with something bad.

    Bad stuff usually happens when nobody is noticing. I don’t believe there were any warnings at Columbine or Virginia Tech. So when people are sending out warnings and going on higher alert, you son is probably much safer than he was the day before when there were none and you didn’t think twice about sending him to school.

    The scary thing about life is that bad stuff indiscriminately happens to all of us. That shouldn’t stop us from living.

  • Meleah

    CMK:
    Awwww… You are adorable.

    Greg!!
    (whew. I thought you were ‘mad at me’ from the other day. *wipes sweat off brows*)

    And that is why I sent my son to school. (*Gasp* heard around the world.)

    Although I have been pacing around my house like a nervous wreck and I am sick to my stomach over the choice I made.

    But, I figured since there was a warning, and since there was police presence then, my son would be safe. I also think its more than likely a prank, or like Jen said, kids fighting with each other.

    You are right about the school not wanting to be in the media with something like THAT attached to their ‘mugs’. Which is why they have to call the cops and warn all of the parents when something like this happens.

    But still, it is really scary when you have to make a decision like this.

  • Okay, you are asking the wrong person. I freak out at even the slightest weirdness so I would have been all up in the principal’s face going, “What are you doing to check this out? Where did this threat come from? Is this threat from a wacked-out kid who is going to shoot up the school? Is this threat gang-related? Is there a bio-threat from terrorists involved? Did you get fingerprints? Has the FBI been notified? Let me talk to the police! I need to know what they’ve discovered…get out of my way, I’ll do the investigation!!”

    Unfortunately, you HAVE to take these kind of things seriously. I would have kept my kid home from school and then been on the phone with whomever to find out what the hell was going on. You poor thing…like this is exactly what you needed! NOT! Let us know what you find out…

    BTW, and is seems kind of stupid but I gave you an award on my blog. Hope it puts a smile on your face….:-)

  • Meleah

    Random Chick:
    Thank you for making me feel NORMAL. Those were my exact thoughts. I know I am probably just making myself CRAZY over nothing…but….like you said, we HAVE TO take these things seriously. Especially if its a CRY FOR ATTENTION / HELP.

    I am working on finding out the details as they unfold I will post them in the comments or revise the post to UPDATE ya’ll.

    Its NEVER stupid to hand out awards! I LOVE awards. I love getting them and giving them. THANK YOU.

    xxoo xxoo xxoo

  • when i was in elementary school someone i knew wrote helter skelter on the wall in red lipstick. no one really understood what it meant and school was cancelled for the rest of the day. ten students(myself included) spent weekends for a month cleaning up the school grounds untill someone ratted him out. the punishment wasnt that bad, cause a group of us that normaly didnt get to hang out on weekends got to walk around and talk. i think things are taken alot more seriously now(as they should) and everything is considered a threat. i wouldnt worry tooo much about it until there is a phone call abou the children…

  • I’d probably have kept the twins home. But then I probably would have then called in sick myself and just played with them all day. 😉

  • Meleah

    Zack:
    Thanks for sharing that.

    Michael C:
    Thats because you are an Awesome Daddy. (and writer and friend)

    —————————————-

    *****UPDATE*****

    While I still don’t have any ‘details’ to the Threat Situation, this is the latest bulletin posted on my sons school’s website:

    Dear Parent/Guardian of Student(s):

    Today, The Vice Principal and I, along with the Police Department, investigated the threat written on a wall on a 5th Grade boys’ bathroom. The police have completed their investigation at our school. We, along with the Police Department, feel confident that Our School is a safe place for your child.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your child for your understanding and cooperation during this atypical situation.

    Sincerely,
    Principal & Assistant Principal

    Well, that is GREAT NEWS….

    But.

    Um.

    Do they have a suspect?
    What is being done to prevent this from happening in the future?
    What is going to happen to the student who did this?

    I Still Have So Many Questions.

  • Your reaction is not “drama queen” its more like “reality check”. SADLY today we have to take these things seriously and consider the worst possible scenario. I would do what many of your other commenter’s said, get more info and based on that decide whether or not to send my son to school. When in doubt – don’t. Better safe than sorry. All those cliches apply here! Let us know what happens!

  • Meleah

    Barbara:
    Spoken Like A True Mother! 🙂

  • home schooling is always an option… not! i too would have been out of my mind… and would have kept mine at home, i’m over protective that way 🙂

  • What would you have done? I would be concerned, but maybe I wouldn’t overreact because there is nothing I could do then.

    Would you have sent your child to school? Or kept them home? No, I would have given her the day after off until they found out more and had a chance to sweep the school.

    You never know when you send your child to school if it’s 100% safe. Unfortunately, it isn’t. I’m scared of school children.

  • Feel it was inappropriate for the school ‘management’ to do such a fast Texas Two-Step (apologies fellow Texans) to provide notice of the threat. I would have gone to school with my son but more with the intent on discussing such awkward process by the Principal’s Office. At any rate, such ways only perpetuate the ‘threat level orange’ doctrine we have all so diligently been exposed to. There is no greater fear than that of the unknown – as a parent I would demand straight to the point information on anything regarding my son, nothing less, nothing more: what specifically was the threat about?.

    Experience dictates that anyone with a criminal intent will not make public notice. As others have noted in their comments, all the buzz created by whatever *threat* was found, has been enough of a ‘kick’ to the persons or group of persons who did it on the first place. If I dwell on it all, I would be worried to no end 24×7, *anything* can happen at *anytime* *anywhere*… those ‘unannounced’ threats, but… me and my kid have a life to live, I won’t be held hostage to such paranoia tactics and leading with my example, my son won’t be either.

    Reminds me of that story a couple of years back when a school’s campus was evacuated and the bomb squad called for: because of someone’s aluminum foil wrapped burrito!. That was a hot burrito.

  • First of all, the email is just strange. If there was confirmed danger to any student or staff member, you would have been instructed to not send your child to school. The principal does not make that decision alone. The district advises after the principal reports the problem.

    The reason they do send letters, etc. is because word of mouth information passed on by the students and their parents is often very incorrect and cause even more problems. Nothing pisses parents off more than to find out something was known and they weren’t informed.

    I’m a pain in the ass about this stuff because I lived in that world for such a long time. In the long run, I would have kept my son home just because. It’s one day.

  • I would have kept my kid home, but I would have tried to find out what was going on. I worry about someone shooting ANYWHERE I go… it’s sad, but true!

  • Meleah

    Stef:
    Home Schooling? No Fucking Way. That is one tough Job.
    But as for the rest of your comment =Agreed

    Valerie:
    Very Good Points.

    Rog:

    I won’t be held hostage to such paranoia tactics and leading with my example, my son won’t be either.”

    I dont think I was held hostage to paranoia. I was simply concerned. (as well I should have been). But they could have gone about the announcement a little better.

    KellyPea:
    Oh I fully understand WHY they have to notify the parents. And I am glad they did. (But I think they could have worded it more appropriately. No?)

    I know for a fact that I would have been one of those ‘PISSED OFF PARENTS’ if my son came home and said, “Hey Mom, There were a bunch of cops and undercover agents in my school today, there was some kind of threat” ….. I would have been livid had there been no notification at all.

    But its nice to know (In The Future) that

    If there was confirmed danger to any student or staff member, you would have been instructed to not send your child to school. The principal does not make that decision alone. The district advises after the principal reports the problem.”

    Thanks for clearing that up for me!!

    Jillian:
    I am also such a ‘worrier’ to begin with. Like I need to stress about sending my son to school, where its supposed to be SAFE? Scary Thoughts.

  • cmk

    I am sure they were trying to cover their asses in terms of lawsuits and that is why it was worded the way it was, it still could have been done better. Pretty much all that bulletin did was cause more questions. Can you imagine that school office today? It’s a wonder the entire area phone system didn’t go down from overload!

  • Meleah

    CMK:
    I cant even imagine trying to field all of those phone calls. I am going to call Other Parents tonight and see what information (if any) was given to them. But you make a great point about the Law Suit issue.

  • is it time to go shopping for a new school? can he school-from-home for awhile?

  • Sure, it’s easy to over-react when dealing with matters that may / may not affect our children. The one thing I do know is that you cannot turn back time, and change something. When looking for answers to what is safe – why not err on the safe side. I would say “stay home”. No “one day” at school is THAT important.
    I think that schools need to be far more open, and direct any information helpful to parent right away. Why are some administrative personel so secretive about divulging school issues / problems, or “threats” in this instance?
    Remember when all of these safty issues were not even around? When I went to school, violence and the talk of it were just not prevalent at any time that I can remember. To bad really …. some news stories prove that you cannot take threats with a grain of salt.

    I hope that this gets resolved – for you, and your son. For what it’s worth, I wish you both a happy and pleasant weekend!!!!!

    ps … loved your recent comments – you would look great in the “Idol Gives Back” pants :~) ha haaaa!!!!!

    Eric

  • Meleah

    Holly:
    Home school? No Way. Out of the question. Actually my son goes to a very good school which is why this is so upsetting and all too shocking to me.

    Speedy:
    I am dying to get my hands on the Idol Gives Back FERGIE Rubber Pants. That was smoking HOT.

    Why are some administrative personel so secretive about divulging school issues / problems, or “threats” in this instance?

    I have NO IDEA and I am tying to get to the bottom of that.

    Remember when all of these safty issues were not even around?”

    Ah yes… The Good Old Days.

    Thanks sweety.

  • No question here, home it is. After all, how much work can he miss in one day, so what if we don’t get the perfect attendance award at that end of the year. I figure the way I see it, it all comes down to his life (maybe) or extra homework on Monday, not much lost in missing a day of school but everything to lose if I send him and something really happens. Seems like a no brainer to me.

  • A threat on the ‘boys bathroom wall’ is probably nothing though. Just some little kid who thought it would be cool to write something stupid on as a joke…

    Now the threat may be real, but if it was real then why broadcast it to everybody by writing it down and ruining your fun…

  • The best friend

    so what ever happened with this???? or will it be another post?

  • I would have been so worried. You weren’t over-reacting at all and I really think the school should have filled you in on exactly what was going on. As a parent, you have a right to know. Please let us know what happens.

  • You are NOT overreacting. That is a frightening message and you have every right to be worried and concerned.

    Whatever decision you made based on that announcement was defintiely the right one because you made the decision with your child in mind.

  • Meleah

    Beth:
    Toad-ily

    FreeLance:
    Thats Exactly what I think.

    BFF/Jen:
    Its posted above in the comments but here it is AGAIN:

    *****UPDATE*****

    While I still don’t have any specific ‘details’ to the Threat Situation, this is the latest bulletin posted on my sons school’s website:

    Dear Parent/Guardian of Student(s):

    Today, The Vice Principal and I, along with the Police Department, investigated the threat written on a wall on a 5th Grade boys’ bathroom. The police have completed their investigation at our school. We, along with the Police Department, feel confident that Our School is a safe place for your child.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your child for your understanding and cooperation during this atypical situation.

    Sincerely,
    Principal & Assistant Principal

    Well, that is GREAT NEWS….

    But.

    Um.

    Do they have a suspect?
    What is being done to prevent this from happening in the future?
    What is going to happen to the student who did this?

    I Still Have So Many Questions.

    Selma:
    I was. I was insanely worried. I will revise the post or write a new one when I know all of the answers or whatever they will tell me

    Magickat:
    Yes. I did.

  • What happened? I would NOT have sent me son to school! Our schools in California are BAD ENOUGH without something like this!!!

  • Meleah

    Olga:

    It was just some stupid Kids fighting amongst themselves. whew.

  • Eek. I don’t know what I would do. I guess the police presence would give me some sense of security (though, if someone really wants to do something bad, they’ll find a way). I’m so glad to hear it was just kids being kids…but, you really made me think.

  • Meleah

    Momo:
    I am just glad this drama is O-V-E-R

    *wipes sweat off brows and resumes normal breathing patterns.*

  • I’d be at the school bright and early waiting for Mr. Principal and demanding and explanation for his cryptic message.

    It’s ridiculous to think they can say blah, blah, blah and expect parents to just say “uh, okay.”

    I hope his office was flooded with calls and irate parents.

  • Well if it’s a potential school shooting where some whack job runs around like Colombine then you should be scared. It’s so vauge. I hate that. I’d demand to know more.

  • Meleah

    Catscratch:
    oh the school was bombarded by irate and upset parents

    Ricardo:
    They were totally vague and handled it rather oddly. Im just glad its over

  • You have every right to freak! I would keep him home for sure. I know we can’t react to everything out there as there are some who threat just to get a reaction, but you can’t dismiss a threat in today’s society……I would have kept him home.
    Wow…that’s would scare me.

  • Meleah

    WOW:
    Totally Scary!

  • The comment on a reply to a comment to a blog post 🙂 ~ I should have noted more clearly that the ones *held hostage* to paranoia responses are precisely the authorities… any level, top down – their interests lie mainly in their careers and positions, ours revolve in the well being of our loved ones.

  • Meleah

    Rog:
    That is SOOOO true

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