The tragic school shootings in Parkland, Florida, remain at the forefront of the news.
Well, bring on the copycats.
People take advantage of calling in threats to schools and making threats within earshot of others and on social media. In response, schools close or lock down. Law enforcement get involved with school sweeps and investigations. Parents keep their children home because fear on behalf of students or themselves.
My children’s school district dealt with bomb threats on the middle school and high school levels early in the academic year. With the second middle school threat, I said enough already.
With Florida’s tragedy and the subsequent copycat threats, I’m saying it again. ENOUGH ALREADY.
A threat made to schools in southeastern Pennsylvania this week was enough to cause concern for my children’s district superintendent to send a letter to parents via the internet. He reassured us that the administration is doing everything it can to keep our students safe. He also noted that the district would not condone students who walk out in protest for safer schools — a national move has been publicized to occur March 14. A designated date could prove dangerous for students, the superintendent said. A perpetrator could easily lay in wait to cause a catastrophe. If you think about it, he’s right.
It’s really a shame that some children go to school fearing that something could happen. It’s a shame for parents who leave their children at the front doors of the school (because anyone outside of students and school personnel cannot to walk to classrooms) or at the bus stop, and hope and pray that their babies come home in one piece or, for that matter, home. I’ll never forget the feeling that ran through me in 2012 when I decided to pick my daughter after school in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. I’ll never forget the tears welling up in my eyes as the children flooded from the school doors to their waiting parents. All I could think about were the 20 children at Sandy Hook who would never walk out of their school doors again.
The suggestions spouting this week to combat violence in schools run the gamut. Ban assault rifles. Raise the age to buy guns. Arm teachers. Hire more armed guards. Replace glass with bulletproof glass. Hold more disaster drills. Budget more funding for mental health treatment. The fingers point. The tongues waggle. The fingers type, fast and furiously.
The suggestions are there. Now let’s take those suggestions and actually do something with them.
School safety needs to be taken seriously. No joking threats. Report any and all threats. Report strange behaviors, and insist that they are addressed. The old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” can and does happen. Or it should.
Let’s take back our schools and communities. Our children’s futures depend on it.