Is My Child Safe At School? Rantings Of One Concerned Parent
- March 03, 2017
- Theresa Bertuzzi
I am still having anxiety attacks about my son going to school. Yesterday I blogged about the incident that happened at my son’s school and complained about how the school did not provide us with enough information, sending all of us parents into a panic on social media. dear-school-way-to-scare-the-crap-out-of-us Today the school followed up by sending us the following message.
As a follow up to my email from yesterday, I just wanted to let you know that the following message was shared with each class today by myself, our Vice-Principals, our Chaplaincy Leader and teachers from our Student Services Department.
The School is safe and we are continuing as normal with all planned activities. We are moving our assembly scheduled tomorrow to Education Week in May.
We know that students heard information that concerned them about potentially unsafe situations at our school. Those students reported it to adults and the adults were able to act on it. This is the process we always want you to follow and we thank you for following this process. When something concerns you, speak to an adult and they will follow up.
In this particular situation with a high school student, we cannot share details because of privacy concerns. However, in general, I can tell you what we do. When there are safety concerns, we remove students involved from the school. We work with the police and the student and their family to make sure that the student gets the support that they need. The student does not return to school unless it is safe to do so and in some cases the student does not return to their original school.
Moving forward, we need you to help us by always letting us know if there are concerns you have. We also need you not to make things worse by perpetuating and spreading rumours through social media and other avenues.
Thanks for helping to continue to make our school a great place to be.
I assume that I am not alone in saying that although this message had a little better information than yesterday’s panic inducing letter, it still did not have nearly enough information to settle my frayed nerves. I realize and I respect the fact that the school can not disclose the name of the child responsible for threatening students at the school as they are a minor, no big deal as we all knew who it was anyway as soon as our children came home from school and filled us in on all of the action of the day. I also reluctantly am willing to accept that you can not reveal the details of what happened as there is a police investigation going on, although if you would fill us in on what did happen it would put an end to all of the stories flying around because they are most likely far worse than what actually happened.
To give you an idea of how extreme the stories are, in the most tame scenario people are claiming that a child uttered threats about another child and made a list of kids he wanted to harm. The school was informed and the police were called. The child was removed from the school but no one thinks there was any real threat. In the most extreme scenario people are saying that a hit list was posted by a student and emailed out to the other students, along with threats that a group of students were going to block the doors of the assembly hall at the school, trapping everyone inside while this student opened fire on all of the children, including those on the hit list. This student attacked one of the children on the list with a knife that the other child hit out of their hand. Police were called and the student was taken into custody but now the other students are coming up with a secondary plan of attack. There are also a bunch of different versions of the story in between. Are these stories true? Who knows so if any reporters stumble across this post, do not use this information as fact because chances are good that it is all rumors and not based on fact at all. Maybe none of it is true but what is fact is that these rumors are flying around and this is what a lot of people think happened. As a rational human being, I realize that the worst case scenario story is probably ridiculous and blown out of proportion, but the mommy in me is not rational and wants to protect my baby and so a little part of me wonders “but what if it is true or part of it is true?” and this is what terrifies me.
So I need to know, “Is my child safe at school?” and this is something the school is not answering in its letters. I see no reason at all why you can’t fill us in on exactly what you are doing to keep our children safe while they are at school. You tell us that the school is safe and that you are working with the police and the family of the child involved but you give us no details of how you are keeping our children safe. Surely that information is not confidential. I believe you when you tell us that you care for our children and that you are working to keep them all safe but it would make us all feel so much better if you would tell us exactly how are you doing that. Are the doors locked, is there security at the doors, will this child who uttered threats be kept away from the school? Has more security been added to the school, is there a police presence? Do you have a plan in place in case someone follows through on the threats? We parents need details, not because we think you are not doing a good job but to put our mind at ease because what we are hearing and reading is some pretty scary stuff. I think that my son’s school is a great school and the staff is wonderful, I worry about your safety too, and I have no intentions of removing my child from the school but I don’t think the communication surrounding this event has been sufficient. It is not only my child that I am worried about, but the children that he has been friends with and the children in our neighborhood that I have watched grow for the past 15 years; I would be devastated if anything happened to any of them; are they safe? I also worry about the staff at the school and all of the teachers who have taught and cared for my child, are they safe? I am hoping and praying that nothing comes of these threats as are all of the parents and I know logically that everything is most likely being done to keep our children safe but it sure would be nice to know exactly what it is that is being done so that I can sleep a little better at night. Just the rantings of one concerned parent.