Yesterday Hailey came home terrified because of a letter sent home to all the kids in her elementary school. It was meant for the parents but of course the kids on the bus read it and talked about it and made it more so much scarier, as children do. And it is scary.
According to what I’ve read, an unnamed elementary school in our district has been threatened with mass violence by anonymous emails from someone who identified themselves as a serial killer. It’s most likely a hoax (as most of these things are) and the fact that the emailer claims that it will happen on Thursday might indicate that it’s a student wanting area schools to close so they can have a four-day-weekend. (Fiesta Friday is a traditional school holiday in our area.)
Still, it’s unsettling. A few weeks ago I had to pick up Hailey at school because she got sick right after a lock-down drill designed to show children how to hide and be silent in the event of a school attack. In some schools they teach the children how to barricade doors and what they can throw at an attacker that might slow them down. I’m glad that they have these drills, but I hate that it’s necessary to have them.
This week the FBI and the police department will continue the investigation. The schools in Hailey’s district will look more closely at any safety issues and will shore up any weak areas of security and make the schools safer. And hopefully this will all go away. But this is why I’m writing about this: Lots of times when schools get bomb threats or threats of violence it ends up being a student who will brag about it to their friends. Please talk to your kids today. Tell them how important it is to let you know if they hear something like this. So many of us don’t think about asking our kids about this stuff because we just assume they’ll tell us, but so often kids laugh stuff like that off as a silly prank without realizing the trauma involved for everyone else. There’s a tip line that you can call if you’ve heard anything about this recent threat. (210) 225-TIPS.
As for me, I haven’t decided whether to keep Hailey home on Thursday. I’ll see what develops, talk it over with her and make a decision then.
I wish I had a better way to end this. I wish I didn’t have to write this. I wish you didn’t have to read it. I wish a lot of things.
UPDATED: The police and FBI haven’t been able to identify who sent the death threats so I talked to Hailey and she said she’d rather stay home on Thursday, which is a bit of a relief because I’d rather she was home too. As one of my amazing readers pointed out, Thursday also happens to be Take Your Daughter To Work Day and so I’m going to spend the day showing her what it’s like being a real writer, but with less booze. This means we’ll rewrite the same paragraph all morning, then eventually scream “I CAN’T DO THIS. NO ONE CAN DO THIS.” Then we’ll give up and watch Doctor Who and take pictures of the cats to distract us from a looming sense of failure. Later we’ll wake up at 2am with the perfect idea of how to finish that chapter we’ve been struggling over and will feverishly write until it’s all out of our head and then we’ll fall asleep at our desk and wonder the next day why we’re always so exhausted. And it will be awesome. And terrible. Just like work should be.