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A Discussion

I kept one of my kids home from school today. Apparently there were multiple threats made by some students to bring physical harm to the student body. The principal and local law enforcement were involved and “appropriate action” was taken. We were also told that there would be a police presence at the school today. The principal did her very best to assure us that they were on top of things.

I still kept my child home.

It’s been only one week since the Sandy Hook tragedy and I’m already hearing about copycat threats in many schools across the country.

It’s not good for my shattered nerves and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this feeling.

And I have to be honest with you, this whole Mayan apocalypse thing that has everyone in a dither means nothing to me. The idea of something happening to my child is much more frightening than the idea of the world coming to an end.

So, I’m curious. Are any of you hearing about threats popping up in your schools? How are you coping with this? Do you have faith in your school administration that they are on top of this stuff or do you feel vulnerable?

Please, absolutely no political discussion. I will delete anything controversial or inflammatory. All I want to know is if you are hearing about threats and how you are coping with it.

Maybe if we talk about it I won’t feel so afraid.

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Comments

  1. Hi Melanie,
    That is so incredibly disturbing and as a Mom, I would have done the exact same thing. I have not heard of any threats in our district. This horror should never happen again.

  2. We too had a similar threat. Our PD took it very seriously and handled it very well. In the end the threat was not legitimate in that the offender didn’t have the means to follow through. The school district emailed all parents and explained what had happened. I felt safe sending my son to school the next day.

    • That sounds identical to what happened here. The only difference is that there were three incidents. One was dismissed as a “misunderstanding” but the other two were investigated and dealt with. That’s an awful lot though. I wonder how those kid’s parents feel??

  3. I have asked around at work and we have not had any copy cat incidents reported here but everyone is on edge about the whole thing. Sandy Hook is a tragedy and I’m sure everyone is glad all the schools are closed until January 2nd at least. I can’t imagine what those kids and parents felt like going back to school this week, even if it was to a different elementary school. I understand about protecting your children and that being the prime directive that overrides all other fears and concerns.

  4. Hi Melanie,
    In our specific district, there have not been threats. In some near counties there were threats made. I am a school board member and yes it worries me greatly for all the children. As a mom, I would have done the same as you. As a Director of a public school system we have made sure that we have plans, drills and as many safeguards as possible.

    but we cannot prevent the crazy, my heart just breaks.

    • I hear you. There’s no way to stop the crazies. I don’t know when I’ll feel safe again. Will we?

      • I read a poinant article/blog called I am Adam Lanzas mother. Of course not really, it talks about resources for disturbed kids. Nothing inflamatory but it touched my heart.

  5. The high school here has persistent rumors but no credible threat according to communications the school sent out via phone messages, emails and letters. They are being very proactive. Limited entrance use today, police present and metal detectors. No backpacks, bags or purses allowed, no hooded or baggy sweatshirts or coats worn during the day. The school is basically in a form of lock down but is probably the safest place in town. No student parking in the lot today, everyone must be dropped off. I am sure they swept the school yesterday with police and dogs as we had a snow day due to a blizzard. The school has already sent email updates saying everything is going well and everyone is cooperative and respectful. I commend them for being on top of things but am sad things have to be this way for many reasons. It’s not fun to be a student anymore.

    • I am sad about the precautions too, but fully support them. We live in very scary times. I’m sure there are even more security changes coming to our schools in the near future.

  6. We haven’t had any threats recently, but we did in September. I was unhappy with how our district handled the situation. They did go into lock-down and the police handled the situation; however, parents were not informed. I heard it from my kids and called the school to confirm. Rumors were going around like crazy and honestly, I only wanted the truth from the school.

    Right now there is a large police presence at our elementary school. It’s upsetting the kids. My daughter says that every time she sees a police officer she gets sad because she remembers the shooting. I told her that every time she sees a police officer to pray for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.

    It’s so difficult. The truth is that it is so very unlikely for our children to be hurt in school. I try and keep that in my mind when I hug them goodbye every morning.

    I think, if I were in your situation, I would also keep my child home.
    ~FringeGirl

    • Ugh, that is so heart breaking about your daughter. Our kids have a new awareness and reality. I’m so sorry that their feelings of safety have been stripped away. They’ve been robbed, really. Adam Lanza did more than take those precious lives, he took away our sense of security. His destruction is even more far reaching than I think he planned.

  7. At our public school we had a group of kids say something like “wouldn’t it be crazy if something like that happened at our assembly Friday since its the end of the world”. And then the rumors spread like wildfire. All assemblies were cancelled (very unfortunate since some were ceremonies parents had taken vacation days for). It’s sad the kids didn’t think before they spoke & then their words were twisted. Even sadder is the districts’ response to handling safety from now on. They told parents they would now be locking outside doors, locking classrooms and no backpacks in the rooms. Sad because when our new building was built two years ago, we were told this security was built with it and would be enforced. As the years went on, doors are left unlocked, strangers are left in by kids standing close to the doors, and backpacks are allowed anywhere (where as we parents thought these measured were being enforced all along!) I’m so thankful my son is a Senior and the last one in that district. I feel much safer with the younger two in a private Christian school where everyone knows everyone…and God is an everyday part of the classroom.
    And yes, talking about it does help. It’s still very scary, but thanks for starting the conversation!

    • I just don’t know if anything is truly secure anymore. I think if someone wants to hurt someone, they will find a way to do it. I try to to not think about all the “what ifs” but it’s hard not to. My son is a senior too and next year he goes off to college. And as we all know, even the colleges see their share of violence. There’s just so much for a mom to worry about. Sigh.

  8. You did absolutely the right thing in keeping your child home, I would have done the same. When you say the threats were dealt with, what did the authorities do? There should be serious consequences for any threat against a school. I am so thankful my kids are grown and I no longer have to send them off to school each day. I feel for parents that have children in school.

    • From what I understand, the police visited the homes of the kids who were accused. That’s all I know. The school is being very tight lipped about that part of it. I guess it’s to protect their rights. But I do know that the school is taking everything very seriously. As they should.

  9. Joanne Beaulieu says:

    We had the same thing happen . I am a lunch lady at the elementary school and we had a police officer parked at the school as the kids got off the bus today.

  10. My kids are already on holiday break (thankfully). So happy they are safe @ home.

  11. They suspended a kid in our district for the same things. Luckily there was no creditably to the threat but it still scares me to death. We are a VERY small community and security measures are going up at the elementary school for the first time in years. Thankfully the kids have until the 2nd off for the district to figure out not only what will happen to that student but with the new security measures in general. I know that I have been spending as much time as possible in my preschoolers class in the last week and I think that might be a more common practice for me.

    • That might be the only good thing from this tragedy. That more security measures are put into place. And I’m sure that there are tons of schools who are scrambling to figure out how to make their buildings more secure.

      • That was really the issue in our school. It was built so long ago that you could tell security was not the first concern. While these new measures are slightly annoying, I would rather take about 5 more minutes to drop my kid off and know he is safe than the alternative.

  12. I’m only 23 & I don’t have any children, but even I was sad & terrified a week ago when I heard about the shooting. My Mom was definitely scared. The school I graduated from had a system that had cameras & mics by the doors & the doors were locked at all times & the only way in the building was if they buzzed you in (after everyone came in right away in the morning). Unfortunately, my family has moved from there now & the school my youngest brother goes to now has no such system. My youngest brother also has Autism & I fear that he would have no idea what is happening if something like that were to happen in his school.

    I work for the local paper & the editor put in an article where she interviewed the local school’s superintendent & he said that “Those kinds of things don’t happen here.” It made me sick to my stomach just reading that because that’s probably what the school officials in Newtown thought as well. I think every school needs a very tight security system & I’m sure no parent/guardian would be upset about their taxes going up a little or giving donations to have one installed.

    • Wow, that superintendent has his head tucked in his shell. I’m surprised there wasn’t outrage over his comment! What a ridiculous statement to make. And I agree with you about the taxes. I’ll pay more for peace of mind.

  13. Sadly yes, we received a letter from the superintendent of our district earlier in the week about a ” rumor circulating that a student or students are planning an incident at XXX High School on Friday, Dec. 21″. I sent my 15 yo to school this morning via school bus but drove my 9 year old to the elementary school. Surprisingly there was a police car there when I arrived. Hours later I drove by the school and he was still parked there! Apparently our district took the threats seriously and police presence remained throughout the day at all the schools. Apparently they arrested a HS student yesterday.

    On a side note, the teachers/faculty were singing Holiday songs/carols as we entered the elementary school today. Kids were playing instruments, teachers were ringing bells and strumming guitars – everyone had a smile on his/her face. I couldn’t help but think about Sandy Hook….

    • That is so beautiful. The killer took away precious souls, but he can’t kill our spirit. I thought of that while I listened to Christmas carols on the radio today. It will be a somber Christmas, but I think we will all be focusing on how blessed we are and at the same time hoping for peace for the people of Newtown.

  14. As a home schooler, I fully support keeping a child home if that’s what your gut says – even if for a day. I can’t even imagine having to send my sweethearts into a school right now. As far as copycats go – we have a Sandy Hook Elementary about an hour south of us here in Virginia and this week a man walked into the school with a 2×4 with the words “high powered rifle” written across it. Wah? Many think he was trying to bring attention the complete lack of security in OUR Sandy Hook Elem. but seriously, parents don’t need that crap right now.

    • I sure hope he was arrested. What an insensitive clod. I would’ve clubbed him with it. Ugh. What we all need right now is sensitivity and thinking before we speak. People are so on edge and not in the mood for any shenanigans.

  15. I wanted to update my previous response. The day went smoothly and the school sent updates regularly. Best part is at the end of day assembly the students celebrated raising over $30,000.00 for the 100% volunteer charity that helps needy families and seniors during the holidays. They do fun activities all month to raise money and awareness and don’t ask families to buy or sell anything like typical fundraisers. The kids play charity games, sell $1 treats and its all done at school.

    • That is an amazing story. $30,000! What a difference that’s going to make for those families and seniors. I bet those kids are very proud, as they should be!! Thanks for sharing that uplifting story. It’s good to hear something positive right now.

  16. Had I been in your shoes Melanie, I would have done the same thing.
    It’s been quiet in our district. But the school buses in Haverhill, MA which had their windows shot out while the students were on board really scared us.
    ALL kids deserve a physically and emotionally (i.e. no bullying) safe environment to grow and thrive and learn – that includes going to and from school.

    • That is horrible. Did that happen recently? I heard nothing about it! Who the hell shoots a school bus?? The world is going mad.

  17. I am retired secondary teacher. My school was closed today due to a report that a student was bringing a gun to school. Apparently, other students decided to also bring guns to campus for protection, so the superintendant suspended classes until everything could be sorted out. A wise decision. This took place in rural, far northern California, where gun ownership is common for hunting deer.

  18. I’m not a parent but I have to say I would have done the same thing! If not kept them home longer, but I’m just paranoid. It’s sad people have to be afraid to send their kids to school! It’s supposed to be a good thing in a childs life. To go learn, make friends and have fun! I agree with the above poster that kids need a stable environment (without bullying also) to learn. It’s terrible this happened but I wish these people wouldn’t find humor in this, I guess people are that heartless :( Best of luck to everyone, do what you feel is right and try to have a happy holiday!
    Much Love,
    Ashley

  19. I have sent my Kindergartener to school and have not been worried at all, or at least no more than I worry on any given day before the recent tragedy. The world is a scary place, and what happened last Friday reminds us of this in the most horrific way. Every time that I send my child to school, or even just walk out my door with my kids, something bad could happen. Heck, something bad could happen to us in our own home. I don’t like to think about these things because if I did all of the time I would be fearful of the world and show my kids to be fearful of the world.

    As a parent, I have come to terms with the fact that I cannot protect my kids from everything. I can only do my best to prepare them for what is out there, good and bad, and use my gut to let me know when something doesn’t feel right. I was fine with sending my son to school because I know that the chances of something like that happening to him are slim and because I am not going to let the bad guys hold my kids back from their lives.

    While I would have sent my son to school in your situation, I understand why you kept your child home. We all need to do what we feel is right, because in tragic times like these we need to go by what out gut tells us.

  20. There has been a police car in front of our Plymouth Ma elementary school each morning this week. I haven’t been notified of any threats.

  21. When I was in high school (7 or so years ago when it happened) someone made a bomb threat in the form of spray painting it at the front entrance of the school, and they found materials ‘planted’ throughout the school that morning. They covered up the spray paint with mats and didn’t say a WORD about it during the day, but it was on the news that night. I’ve also had an inebriated man come into my classroom in between classes and start talking to classmates, offer them alcohol, and walk out. Worst by far was a boy I knew that was dared to bring a knife to school….so he did. I was terrified to go to the office and make a report since he had already been in juvenile detention before, but it was the best thing I could have done, especially with that history. All of this from a school with locked doors, cameras, IDs for all students, and an officer on duty at all times. Things will happen regardless of the precautions in place.
    Now that I’m a parent, (and have worked in daycare settings) the idea of threats to children is a terrifying thought. Whether it manifests in the form of an angry parent caught in a custody battle, a teen with revenge on the mind, or someone random altogether, I think the biggest issue we face as a society is our new-found ‘Don’t get involved’ mentality. My neighbors used to know everything about us, and we were a community. The idea that we should be so closed off as a society means that we can ignore when someone seems a bit off their rocker and can say ‘Well I knew there was something odd, but I never expected this’ when a tragedy occurs. We refuse to help anyone but ourselves and our needs. Yes, health insurance is expensive, mental institutions and other outlets of help are overburdened. I am a firm believer that if everyone just paid a little more attention to what’s outside their bubble, the world wouldn’t be such a dangerous place.

  22. We had the same issues here in Western MA. I would have sent my high school daughter to school anyway- I honestly feel that it was probably the safest day of the whole year because of the amped up security and police presence. However, I did let her stay home because the principal said absences were excused and literally none of her friends were going. I’m an elementary teacher, and I had 7 kids out in my classroom. It was the same all across my school. Obviously a lot of parents took the threats very seriously.

  23. There was a threat made at the high school here. There has been a police presence there and at the elementary school all week. Administrators have been very present as well, standing in the halls and entrances. At the high school, backpacks were to stay at home and jackets were to be worn or carried in the hands, not draped in front of the body. My teenager was annoyed by that, but she completely understood the point. I HATE that these things had to be put in place, but I am GRATEFUL that they were.

    Momma has been praying like crazy. And I’m more than thankful that we are off for the next two weeks! Glad to have my chicks in the nest for a little while.

  24. I don’t think we had any threats…I’m not sure we would all know about it if we did since things have been so scary this week. We have had police presence at all of our schools this past week and two sheriff’s duputies were posted in the front corridors of the schools yesterday for Christmas parties (lots of visitors in and out). I sent my Reagan to school Monday and Tuesday, but she asked to stay home Wednesday and Thursday…so of course, I let her. We went Friday for the party, dropped off cupcakes and teacher gifts and she stayed for about an hour while I ran to the grocery store. I live in rural MS and our sheriff’s wife not only teaches kindergarten in the same building where my daughter’s classroom is, but his kids also attend school there…so selfishly, I feel like any threat of violence will be taken very seriously.

    I’m dealing with all this by doing a lot of praying, bible reading and NOT out and about in the crazy world. I’m also finding ways to give back…we donated to the Newtown Animal Shelter as requested by the parents of one of the little girls killed, the Newtown Library’s Books Heal Hearts program, and Kitten Associates Kitties for Kids also in Newtown. Reagan and I actually got to pick out gifts for the kitties to play with during therapy sessions with grieving children. Participating in these local programs has helped us feel like we are doing something, anything to help…and it also helps heal our own hearts. It also helped that Robin Olson, the lady who runs Kitten Associates messaged us back on FB and thanked us and sent hugs to Reagan from her and the kitties…Reagan really liked that.
    I don’t know what else to do, Mel. I really don’t. My heart still aches every minute for those precious lives lost…but also for this world we live in. I think we just have to do everything and anything in our power to make it a better place.

  25. Melanie, our youngest still had three days last week but there was nothing out of the ordinary there. My two who are in high school have been on Christmas vacation. Frankly, I was glad. Blessings to you.

  26. This past Thursday there was an problem at a neighboring school where someone saw a person walking close to the school with a gun, the police locked down the High School and near by Elementary School. The police found the gun which turned out to be a pellet gun, but never found the person. At my sons high school they did not lock it down, but police did a walk thru and kept up patrol. I was really concerned because my niece was subbing at the high school that day, and my other nieces daughter goes to preschool next door to that school.

  27. I’m in Northeast Louisiana and we too have had multiple copycat calls. We even had an elementary age child bring a BB Gun to school and shoot his classmate. It’s pretty sad.

  28. we had ‘possible threats’ here in Parma,ohio. under investigation at all 3 high schools, each had a story about that it was related to a conversation among high school kids about the mayan calendar. however, what my daughter heard was that someone was bringing a gun to the assembly they were having on Friday. school district was proactive with phone calls and website updates, they also had the police at all the schools,elementary, middle and high schools. i think it is so sad that this is what it has come to. God Bless everyone in Newtown

  29. We have not heard of any threats in WA state (yet) but after Sandy Hook, I feel more motivated and sure that homeschooling is the best way to go for my kids/family. Even on the Friday I heard about Sandy hook, I went to school and pulled the kids out 1.5 hrs early. made me feel better seeing them and having them with me so I could hug them tight.
    There have been stabings and bomb threats here in our school district (high schools mostly) withing the past year and that just scared me to death.
    I’m working on getting my certification so I can start homeschooling as of Sept 2013, my kids will not see the inside of another school again. It’s scary out there and schools of all places…??

  30. No threats at our schools so far …

  31. I retired from an office manager’s position at a university police department. The first chief I worked with told me he believed anything anyone said to him. I gave him a quizzical look and he laughed, then explained that threats and strange statements, even seemingly innocuous ones, should be taken seriously and investigated. As he had been a detective who retired from the New York City PD, he had a wide experience with such things.

    In our state, it is forbidden for anyone to carry a weapon/firearm onto a university campus. The first police report I ever read was about a student who kept a coati mundi which wore a collar and leash for walks. The animal attacked another student and bit her legs. Weapons come in many forms, no?

    • Agreed. Weapons do come in many forms. People who want to hurt other people will find a way one way or another. It’s so sad.

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