I got the following email from my daughter's school today:
Dear Parents –
As students continue to process the tragedy that occurred last Friday, we wanted you to be aware of some items that have come to our attention.
We have received vague reports of threats to the school coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar on 12/21/12.
It is our practice to fully investigate every report that we receive. We have not found any credible evidence of danger to our students. We will continue to investigate any information concerning the safety and well-being of our students.
During the day, teachers keep classroom doors locked and have been asked to increase hallway supervision during passing periods. The Noblesville Police Department and our Resource Officers provide security on a daily basis. Tomorrow, officers will have a greater presence in and around our campus.
The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We appreciate your cooperation and support in our efforts to keep NHS safe.
My daughter is freaked out. They talked about it in classes, with teachers. I don't know what all was said, but nonetheless Emma doesn't want to go to school tomorrow.
How I handle this situation is definitely important for many reasons.
I don't want to reinforce that you let fear hold you back in life, and that you can just stay home from anything that is threatening. Because driving a car is more likely to kill you than a school shooting, statistically. Yet she still wants a drivers license. And as we know from the recent explosion on the south side of Indianapolis, you aren't even safe in your own home. Threats are everywhere. The potential for someone to come to school with a gun exists every single day. Living life in fear is not going to be productive or useful or healthy.
I want my children to learn real lessons from this situation. That you can't let those crazy people steal your life from you with threats. You can't give them that power.
That said, there is something very scary about sending your child to school when there are known, though "vague" threats out there. And all my justifications certainly don't put my daughter at ease. And they don't put me at ease, either. If something did happen, I'd never be able to forgive myself for sending her to school.
I've talked with my husband, Emma's dad, and my friend who works for Noblesville Schools. And I think that it's the right decision to send her. She has finals tomorrow, too, which makes it a more important day to attend, and probably is slightly fueling her desire to say home.
Am I making the right decision? Who knows. That's what parenting is--using your best judgement to do what's right for your kids, and you usually aren't sure what the right thing is. And often it's about balancing safety with other factors, including important life lessons. If there's another threat in three weeks, in a month, in two months, am I going to keep her home and secluded from the world? Do we stop driving, stop going to amusement parks because the rides could break down, stop going into tall buildings?
I won't sleep well tonight. And I'll be worried all day tomorrow. But I have faith that the staff of her school will do everything to protect her, because their lives are on the line too, should any threats be real.
What do you think? Would you keep your kid home?