Please note: When adding your link to the link up, you’ll be looking for the image of a coffee bean heart with the words “Add Your Link Here.” I’m not a fan of the frog image, so I switch things up a bit. 😉
Good morning, my wonderful coffee friends, old and new! I’m super excited to have you here today…this is, after all, my first official hosting of the Weekend Coffee Share. 🙂 Come in, come in! Cozy up on the couch and let the dinosaurs bring you some of their famously delicious coffee. (Not a coffee drinker? The dinosaurs may give you the side-eye, but they will bring you some water or tea, if you’d like.) 😉
The dinosaurs have also made some rosemary and cheddar scones for us to nibble. Alas, life got a little crazy this week, and they haven’t had time to type up the recipe for you, but they promise to have that ready for you in the next couple of weeks.
In fact, the dinosaurs, who usually get all of their Coffee Share ducks in a row on Fridays, didn’t have time to take care of much at all yesterday. They also wanted to get some kitchen science fun ready for you, but our day got messed up beyond repair, so everything got put on hold. (More on the messed up day in a bit…I’m not going to put that out there and just leave you wondering what happened…what sort of host would I be???)
Okay, is everyone snuggled in with all of the refreshments that they need? Great! Because I have so much I want to share with you this week, but I do have a bit of a warning. My Coffee Share posts are generally pretty light and fluffy…with lots of emphasis on what I’m playing and reading and blogging…and what my family’s up to (because it’s always something). This week, however, I have some seriously un-light and un-fluffy thoughts whiz-banging around my head, and I’m going to share them with you.
If talk of school violence is a trigger for you, you should probably not scroll below the little white fence breaker image below this section. Because of that, I’m going to put a link up button up here (normally there will only be one at the bottom of the post), so you don’t have to be subjected to the rest of this post, but still have the freedom to join the link up. 🙂
School violence? Yes and no. Earlier this week, a student at Grace’s school used social media to threaten to “shoot up the school on Friday.” Fortunately someone reported the social media posts (thank you ever so much to that mystery person!), and there was an investigation that led to the student being arrested.
But…then he was released.
Before school on Friday.
Well, rumors were flying around from kid to kid in a most impressive and stellar fashion. (Not shocking, right?) We didn’t even catch wind of this whole situation until pretty late on Thursday night.
Grace was scared to go to school yesterday, so we didn’t make her. At this point, we had zero confirmed information about any of this (we didn’t know that the student had been arrested or that the school was doing anything to keep the kids safe…more on that in a bit), and we felt like erring on the side of safety and Grace’s not spending a day in debilitating fear was the way to go. It turns out we were in pretty good company…we’ll just say that attendance was abysmal at Grace’s school yesterday.
Though I agreed without hesitation to Grace missing school on Friday (is that ever something you really want to gamble with), I felt like this must all be out of hand rumors. Another school in our area had a well-publicized (and beautifully handled) shooting threat for Friday, and I thought this must be rumors running wild from that news story. After all, I hadn’t heard anything from the school. When I checked the local news sites and Twitter feeds, there was no mention of this threat. It must just be kids being dramatic, right?
Well, it was pretty late at this point, so we had a talk with Grace about not adding to the rumors…about the shooting threat or about this kid who quite possibly had done absolutely nothing as far as we knew. We reminded her that our words are powerful and should be used carefully. We had our usual night-night hugs, Grace went to bed, and I checked the news one more time. Absolutely no information. I truly thought this was some sort of teenager drama that would die down.
When the morning rolled around, I decided to text some of the other PTSO moms to see if they had heard anything about this. Guess what?!? It was all bloomin’ true. The kid had been arrested, but the police had released him. The shooting threat was absolutely true. The school had suspended the student, but he was absolutely roaming free. Extra police officers had been brought into the school for security.
Now, let me tell you something about the school Grace goes to…it’s a magnet school for arts and technology, and it is one of the most loving, accepting, non-threatening environments I have ever encountered. This place makes most Kindergarten classrooms feel like battle zones or something. These kids don’t do racism or classism or homophobia or transphobia or any of the hate-fueled isms or phobias…instead they write plays about the importance of not perpetuating isms and phobias. The walls of the school are covered with art and poems and posters about respecting each other and themselves. It’s really a pretty amazing place. (And this isn’t based on one of those “30-second staged glimpses for the parents” that schools sometimes do…as a very active member of the Performing Arts Committee, I’m at that school a lot, and this is the way it truly is.)
Given the beautiful environment of the school, this shooting threat was really quite a shock.
But even more shocking? The school did not utter a word to parents about this threat. Not. A. Word.
Back to that text conversation with the other PTSO parents. Around 8:15 (the time Grace and I would normally be hopping in the car to go to school), a news story about the incident finally broke…some of the parents saw it and shared the info.
Still no word from the school.
School starts at 8:50.
At 9:07, the school finally called…with a lip service message that was vague and skipped over some pretty important information.
I was furious.
Have you ever been so bloomin’ mad that you wrapped back around to calm and composed? That’s where my brain was.
I’m not a terribly cynical human, but I couldn’t help wondering if that message from the school only happened because the story hit the news, so the school couldn’t keep it under wraps anymore. I mean, it was interesting that we didn’t hear a peep until after the story was released.
And now I’m also wondering what else goes on at that school that they don’t feel the need to share with parents? Possibly nothing at all, but the trust evaporated in an instant.
While I’m not a cynical human, I’m also not a “sit back and do nothing” type person, so I composed a firm (but polite) email to the superintendent of our school system. It took a couple of hours, but I actually heard back from him by way of phone call. Imagine how surprised I was to hear that the superintendent’s office had also been unaware of the situation until it made it to the news. The tension in the voice was definitely clear. I was assured that there would be meetings and discussion of procedures and blah, blah, blah. I really wish I had been invited to one of those meetings, but that’s not how things are handled. Needless to say, I’ll be sending some follow up emails next week. (Also, how obnoxious am I to go straight to the tippy-top of the school system with my rant?) 😉
Ultimately, no one was physically injured, and that’s great. But a tremendous lot of damage was done. I no longer have faith in the administration of the school, the community is disgusted with how the school (didn’t) handle things, and, most importantly, kids who felt safe and secure just last Thursday have had that security taken away from them…all because the school didn’t communicate openly and honestly about a potentially life-threatening situation. All of us, parents and students, were left to make choices based on rumors and speculation, and that is unacceptable.
We’ve also had no word at all about what happens after this student returns to school. We know that he was suspended, but suspensions are temporary. How will us parent-types know that our kids are safe? Just one more bit of info that the school has chosen not to share.
Can you tell that I’m still pretty riled? What about you? Have you had to go through a similar situation as a parent or student? How did the school handle it? As a parent, how would you have handled a complete lack of information coming from the school until it was too late to make an informed decision about attendance? Tell me your thoughts!
Okay, this post has gotten rather lengthy, so I’m going to skip all of the other babble I normally do. I do apologize for the serious nature of this post, but my brain will not be diverted from this topic at the moment. (I think that’s pretty understandable, no?) If you come back next week (please say you will!), it’s almost guaranteed that things will be back to silly and nerdy around here. 🙂
And now it’s time for you to show me (and the rest of the Coffee Share crew) yours!
I really look forward to having coffee with you this weekend! 😀
And until we chat again, I hope you have an amazing week full of love and hugs and giggles and learning and fun! ♥