Please talk to your children. *mild trigger warning*

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.

356 thoughts on “Please talk to your children. *mild trigger warning*

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I can’t resist saying that on Easter Sunday I was in the coffeehouse of the local Raley’s grocery, and a worker was in there on her break, reading a book and laughing out loud with delight. I had a feeling, so I asked her: what book is that?

    She holds up the cover with the mouse.

    She says: “I love this book! I’ve had cranky customers all day, and this woman says everything I can’t say! I love it!” She showed it to a co-worker.

    What a triumph!

  2. It’s scary business to be sure. Things like this is what makes parenting such a hard and scary job. Good luck with making this difficult decision.

  3. Keep her home and take her someplace beautiful, maybe botanical gardens where she can learn about plants and butterflies and you’ll do everything to keep her safe.

  4. My heart hurts for so many reasons. For Hailey that she has to be exposed to this sort of thing and for you as her mother. And for society in general that this kind of situation is something that we have to prepare our children for. I am sending you lots of love and just know that many of us are doing and feeling the same.

  5. My senior year of high school our school had a bomb threat that ended up being a student who did it to get his friends out of class. It’s stupid and ridiculous.

  6. There’s really no good way to end it. I hope that your daughter’s nerves (and yours) are able to be calmed in spite of the challenges of the situation.

  7. I wish no one had to deal with this, but thank goodness they are being proactive.

  8. Wish I could give everyone a hug right now. Or a nice cup of tea. Better… both! <3 I work at a college, so while I may sound flippant, this is very near and dear to my own heart. I hate that a place that should be about equality and the passion of education has become low hanging fruit for terror. The last lockdown we had… I just sat there looking at photos of my niece and nephew. They totally embody love and loving life to me. I'm glad you've done this PSA for everyone. And if you keep Hailey home this week, then do some fun science! 😀 Or read a good book together. <3

  9. I hat when my son is scared and I have to pretend to be brave for him when I am truly terrified.

  10. One of your best blogs, even if it isn’t funny. Everything you said is true. It’s damn scary out there, for our kids, and for us. It’s hard to know how to handle it without making children more scared, but they need to be made aware. Talking to them is the only way. Good luck making your decision about Thursday. I’d probably err on the side of caution & keep her home. That whole “we can’t let the terrorists win” thing barely matters if it may be my child’s life at stake.

  11. Our middle school was in lock down recently. My son text me from class, and as you can imagine, I was there in seconds. Nine police cars were across the street from the school, and based on their demeanor, the crisis was over. I approached the school to take my son out of class, and by that time, all was ok.

    When my son got home he told me that when they turned off the lights, he casually got up and went to the back of the classroom. I asked him why. He told me, ” I sit by the door, I’d be the first one shot.” I burst into tears. REALLY … my 7th grader needs to go through this. On the other hand, I applauded his quick thinking, but still had a knot in my stomach for days. This, of course, created a huge conversation with my other children. It’s scary that they cannot feel safe at school.

  12. The lockdown drills are very scary, but so very necessary for kids to be able to respond and react in the event of an attack. I can’t remember the exact statistic but it’s something like you’re 90% more likely to freeze in the face of danger without the training. While awful anyone has to train in school for such a thing, it is so necessary.

    The TIPS line is manned 24-7 and the agents are legally obligated to follow-up on any lead that comes in. They take it very seriously, so hopefully this is resolved quickly.

  13. This is an area where I definitely don’t envy parents/guardians. When I was a kid, we did tons of fire/tornado drills, and that absolutely terrified me – nightmares for weeks (or at least in retrospect it feels like it was weeks). It’s hard to realize as a kid that preparedness makes you stronger and better equipped to deal with those situations because forethought isn’t something that develops until much later in life. Thoughts are with you and Hailey and the other parents and kids who have to face this stuff.

  14. I read something the other day that said there should be a fire extinguisher in every single classroom and part of a lockdown drill should be the teacher grabbing said fire extinguisher, and remaining in a spot where there’s a clear shot at the door. So that if someone gets into their classroom, they can blast them with freezing foam and then knock them over the head with the canister. I love this so much that I’m posting it here so other people will see it and maybe start spreading it, too. I hate this shit. I really, really, REALLY hate it. All we can do is arm ourselves, our teachers, and even our babies, with whatever we can, including knowledge.

  15. Poor Hailey. My oldest son, now almost 19, was the same way. All the drills left him scared. He was a first grader when the World Trade Center was hit and that didn’t help. You have to do what you think is best for your child. So sad that people make life so complicated and frightening, both to kids and adults.

  16. Thanks, Jenny! And talk to your neighbors. And your teachers. And people who don’t have kids. This is a community issue as much as a school issue. It’s really challenging for a school to be something that the community isn’t. There are always outliers, but the more we band together the more difficult we are to break apart. Anyone can see something or hear something that can prevent a tragedy.

    I hated Code Black drills. As much as I believed that no tragedy would befall my school, I knew that as a teacher, I had to be prepared to die protecting my kids.

  17. I live very close to the school by Pittsburgh that had the knife attack. Luckily no one died, but 4 are still in the hospital and I think it was another 17 that were wounded. People always say that they never thought it would be my school or my community, but eventually it just might be. The sad (and I mean SAD) truth is that these things can really happen close to home and there is nothing you can do about it but prepare and take every threat extremely seriously.
    I wish it didn’t have to be this way…

  18. I grew up in a different country – we had terrorist attack drills, fire drills, bomb threat drills, and armed assailant drills – so in a way it was our normal to expect tanks with terrorist types to come rolling up the school driveway. As a parent now, in the USA, it terrifies me to think that my kiddo has to do these types of drills.
    I am thankful that the school is being proactive instead of ignoring it and assuming it’s a hoax. Big hugs – I know it’s the stuff that parental nightmares are made of. Do what makes your brain most comfortable. She’s your kid. She’s got an army of whacky aunties and uncles out here also – to give you the support you need to be strong for her. 🙂

  19. Thursday sounds like a good day for a family field trip to Chuck E. Cheese. I usually reserve that for school asshattery like bouncy parties for those who sold crap, but I’d personally rather go play skee ball than worry about the what ifs. Either that, or I’d go stand guard at the school. I don’t know.

  20. I hate that the violent world seems to gravitate toward children. There was a bomb threat at a school near us a few days ago, and this morning I saw another bomb threat at a school near my niece in another state.

    Our kids are seeing this and sometimes joking about it, the same way we used to joke about the nuclear drills we did when we were their age (“The Russians have launched countless missiles, get under your desks and don’t panic!) but this seems so much more real because they can turn on the TV on any day and hear about a car bomb or gunman somewhere.

    I guess in my rambly way I’m just sympathizing with you. I don’t know how to stop it. Punish people that cause hoaxes, certainly. Punish actual offenders many magnitudes more severely. Hug your kids.

  21. This terrifies me all of the time. If I think about it too much then i get to where all I want is to home school my kids and keep them safe and sound in the confines of our home just so I know for sure what happens in their world. I know that is not realistic. I work and cannot be home all day with them. And I can’t shelter them as much as I want to (because I will turn them into bubble children).

  22. Unfortunately, this is the kind of world we live in today. People are nuts. I was just commenting to my 23 year old niece this morning on our way to work that this world is just fucked up and we are in self-destruct mode. There are a LOT of chemically unbalanced people in the world. No one has a “heart” any more, and the ones that do continually have theirs broken. The best thing you can do is not sugar coat things. Show your daughter what the world is like. Have her watch the news. Tell her how things are. I think it’s better that kids walk around with their eyes and ears opened and ready for anything other than being babied and constantly protected. Live is not easy and there are people that, if given the chance, would hurt her. Sure, we want to protect our kids. I know I do, but there will come a day when we can’t help them and they will need to do it for themselves. Then what? We live in a militant world where money and violence talk and everything else is just a mirror. We need to see past that mirror and be ready for anything and everything. I hate it too, but I’d much rather be ready then hurt or dead.

  23. My daughters attend a school in a neighborhood that is not the best. They’ve been on lock down a number of times just in the past 2 years. On one occasion many parents, including myself, were standing right outside waiting to pick up half day kindergarten kids. Another time was the shooting at Sparks Middle School a mile down the road.

    It’s shitty that we have to explain such things to kids. To have to sit down and tell them that someone they know personally has been impacted by it. It’s one of the worst feelings to have your small child ask you if it’s safe to go to school, or to tell you that they are scared and don’t want to go. What the actual fuck?! We shouldn’t have to reassure our kids they are safe, and then hope to fuck we were right. We just shouldn’t.

  24. My ds’s (9 yrs) school was locked down yesterday for a 16 yr old fugitive with a gun. Such a scary world we live in. I would keep Hailey home and do something special with her. I went and got my son out of school the day of the Newton shootings. For my peace of mind as well as his safety.

  25. When I was a teenager, my high school was kitty corner to a medium security boys’ detention centre. We had lockdowns regularly, as any boy getting out of the detention centre would head straight for the school. For us students it was an annoyance; being locked into a room with 30 people who we may or may not have gotten along with and a teacher who wouldn’t stop teaching once the door was latched wasn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. No one would have tried to end up in that situation if they could help it.

    Now here I am, 20 years later, reminiscing about the good old days of lockdowns when they were treated with proper respect. That’s good, I think. I’m going to go yell at some kids to get off my front lawn, and I really hope that Thursday is very dull and uneventful for Hailey and her schoolmates.

  26. Well, that certainly sucks!!! I certainly feel for you and Hailey. I don’t have kids myself so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you. Hopefully, it will be a hoax…but, still. Sending {{{hugs}}} to you both!!!

  27. The drills are no fun, but maybe they will make concerned kids feel more confident that there’s a plan? I hope that schools emphasize that lock down drills are not only for “attacks” but would also happen if there was a missing/misplaced child. I would think it would be a lot less scary to practice lock downs if it was presented as what to do in multiple situations.

  28. Poor kids. That must be terrifying. I hope you’re right about some kid wanting a four day weekend. Idiots.

  29. My sister posted it on her facebook since she’s there in S.A. To work from what little facts I know, if there was a legitimate threat, the schools would be shut down. I do wish I could see the actual threatening email, though, to know what details are actually given. A real serial killer looking for glamor would make sure that prior incidents were tied to them, to give weight to their threat, for example. Sort of like how the Zodiac did with his threats to blow up a school bus. Although, even if he had tried, most bombs actually fail, but that’s a tangent…

    I think the biggest thing is that if they gave warning without the serial killer detail I mentioned, then it probably is a hoax to get the schools shut down for a four-day weekend. Regardless, the person is getting attention, which is what they want primarily.

  30. That really, really sucks. But at the same time I’m wondering why our schools don’t do this – perhaps in the larger cities they do now. But out here in the sticks we are all still living in our happy bubble. Not sure what’s worse.

  31. Somehow I feel there are more efficient ways for schools to communicate this kind of thing than sending notes home with kids.

    Hugs to you and Hailey.

  32. I completely understand this feeling of dread while showing a nonchalant smile and acting like its no big deal to your kid. It is a terrifying reality that we as parents have to deal with but a necessary talk to have with even the youngest child.

    My daughters elementary school had a threat written in chalk this year, it was obviously a child with misspells but the fact that a child so young had these thoughts was the unnerving part.

    We never do know what is behind someone else’s door and where horrors and terror breeds but we can be smart and aware of the nature of our society and teach our children to be vigilant without being fearful.

  33. I hate this, I hate it. As a teacher at a high school and parent of elementary aged kids I hate this on many different levels. I hate that there are people who will do these acts of terror on children in a place where people work hard everyday to make feel safe so kids can learn and grow. I hate the fear I feel as a parent as I send my kids off to school everyday, and I am sad to say I feel relief when I pick them up that nothing bad, tragic or scary happened to them while I wasn’t with them. I hate that I get nervous when we have an unexpected fire alarm or evacuation. I hate that people have to worry about this at all.

    Your message is so spot on though, be observers, report things that give you feelings of unease and talk to kids. All kids, all the time so they know you are there, you care and that they can vent their frustrations differently rather than giving threats (both empty and not so empty.) it can make the difference.

  34. I’m 53. I’m glad I went to school when all we were taught in a California school was to stay safe in case of an earthquake and hide under your desk. You knew an earthquake when you felt it. It didn’t look like a fellow school mate or a teacher. I do recall coming home and daily announcing that someone said that the Zodiac Killer would be at school the next day. We were so SURE it was going to happen. In hindsight, that is still nothing to what an elementary kid has to deal with today. And that just breaks my heart.

  35. Such a tough call. If you and Victor and Hailey decide that she will go to school, will you talk to her about safety measures? Will she feel more confident if she knows she has thought about where she can go to hide or escape? I hate even typing that.

  36. When one of mine was in junior high there was a year of bomb threats. One day she told me she might know who it was but she might just think that because she didn’t like him. We talked it over and I decided maybe it was kind of nebulous, and let it go. Later it turned out to be the kid she told me about. She said, “I wish I’d said something.” I said, “You did. You told me. I am the adult you told, and I dropped the ball.” Fortunately it was only threats, no real danger. But I still regret that I didn’t support her better. So, yeah, talk to them — and then listen. <3

  37. I talk to my daughter about everything constantly. Suicide, school attacks, drug dealers…she’s gotta be tired of it by noe. But I’ve opened the lines of communication and she knows what to look and listen out for. And she comes to me when she is concerned.
    It is nus that these conversations must take place. The world is a scarier and scarier place to raise children.

  38. About once a year we have a similar threat. My kids are both in high school, but I allow them to make the decision of whether to go or not. We are on the block schedule, so they have always opted to go instead of getting so far behind. It is gut-wrenching to have to make such a decision, but we can’t live our lives in fear. My thoughts are with you!

  39. While it seems as if times are scarier now, my grandfather, born in 1885, told us of the Bath School Massacre in Lansing Michigan 1927, which killed 44 people. My mom lived through polio epidemic quarantines. I grew up with atomic bomb drills. Every generation has something. We look back upon “the good old days” with rosey glasses, but no time was idyllic and safe. Ever.

  40. My daughters are both drama queens (literally, in drama club at their high school), and the whole club was selected to participate as “subjects” in an active shooter drill a few weeks ago. It bothered me to no end…and it was only after they both explained to me why it was so important to them, that I relented and signed the permission slip. “How is anyone else supposed to know how to respond, if they’re not taught?”

    I get the reasoning. I just don’t like it.

  41. What a scary, scary world we live in. On the other hand, to put some perspective on it, I think that the world has always been fraught with darkness and fear of one kind or another, which is why fairy tales are so dark. And I am old enough to remember air raid drills in my elementary school, back when the threat of the Cold War and Russian bombs loomed large. We lived in a small town, and once, when, in the middle of the night I awoke to sirens and flashing lights (the local grocery store was on fire) I thought that it had happened, that we were being bombed and would probably all die soon. The horror of those few minutes is still with me so vividly all these years later.

    Tell Haley that bad things sometimes happen — thankfully not very often — but grown-ups try really hard to find ways to keep children safe and prepared in case a bad thing does happen. Think of it as the modern version of a dark fairy tale.

    I’m going for a root canal in a couple of hours. I’d rather face that than have to experience what you and your daughter are dealing with today.

    Hugs. It’s the best we can do, sometimes.

  42. The entire city is abuzz! Many of my neighbors are keeping their kids home. Most likely it is a stupid prank in response to STAAR testing.

  43. So sorry you’re having to deal with this. I wonder if the PTA/PTO could help? Maybe having a few parents walking the halls that day would make the kids feel safer? I think I’d try to find a way to have her there, even if I went with her, just to reinforce the community instinct at the school, the feeling that we are all in this together and will look out for each other. But I don’t think there’s a wrong answer, just what’s best for your child.

  44. When I was in Elementary school, we were able to leave all the doors open during warm weather. This was well before air conditioning, so any breeze was welcome, you know how warm the South gets! One of my classmate’s had a St. Bernard, who would wander the halls looking for her…this was our big threat, a dog wanting to play with his little girl. She would walk him back across the street to her house! I wish Hailey had only to worry about something so innocent! I hate that kids have lost the fun in life!

  45. I hate that I have to have conversations with my kids about these kinds of things, but it’s the sad reality of the world. We also talk about what to do if they find a gun at a friend’s house or anywhere. And other terrible topics. Your post is a good reminder to have those conversations more frequently. And to talk to other parents. And other neighbors. And keep the communication going strong.

  46. first time my kids told me about a lock down drill at school, i had tears running down my face. so sad that they have to even worry about something like that.

  47. I was in middle school when the Columbine shooting happened. I remember that our school administrators refused to talk about it with parents or let the teachers talk about it with us, and that made us even more confused and scared. A year later to the day, there was a bomb threat called in for the entire school district and there was NO plan in place at all. Even though it was April, it was cold and snowy outside (yay northern New England) and we had been evacuated during gym class. We stood outside in our shorts and t-shirts for hours while the school board decided what to do. It sucked. We were cold, but more worryingly, no one was trying to explain anything to us. They just let us be terrified, which was stupid and sucked ass.

  48. I’m in a different district but they’re sending those letters home all over the city. I’m so grateful they’re taking this seriously and that the kids will have the skills to deal with it should it happen, but how dare that person make these threats. My 10 year old came home a nervous wreck yesterday because the kids were talking about it on the bus. He thinks it’s for sure going to happen at his school and he’s terrified. Do I keep him home? Not sure what the right thing to do is. Hugs to you guys, here’s to hoping for an uneventful Thursday.

  49. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I totally was when my kindergartener came home last year and explained “lock down drills” to me. He was visibly upset – we talked it through and he understands that it’s just a “what-if” and we hope they’ll never, ever have to do a real lockdown. But if they do, he knows what to do. He’s in first grade this year and has been diagnosed with anxiety … last year’s fear makes so much more sense to me now. Poor little guy just couldn’t stop thinking about “what if” and we spent – literally – 3 weeks talking about lock downs at home and making sure he knew he was safe. But the very fact that they do the drills makes these little ones aware that they may not be safe. I hate that they have to do them and that these little kids (his school is K-1st grade-2nd grade) understand the “why” part – even if it seems as simple as “so bad guys don’t get us.” They know there are bad guys who have done this to kids, who might try to get them. *** sigh *** this world is a crazy place. A crazy, sad & scary place.

  50. I think training is a good idea, but reality is that the chance of a school attack is relatively small. They make big news when they happen but in the overall scheme of things, the probabilty of it happening is lower than getting in a car accident on the way to the school.

    We did earthquake drills as kids in school even though we really didn’t live in earthquake country, all with the idea that being in the know is better than being unprepared.

    Personally, I don’t think the school should have sent that note home with the kids…they should have mailed them/emailed them to the parents instead. I am sure that the threat is a hoax to get people out of school for the day. I hope you don’t feel stressed about this all week and that when they do find the culprit of the email threats, that punishment is rendered.

  51. I hope it’s a prank and not an actual real threat. So glad that Hailey’s school is being proactive just in case. Sorry you have to go through this.

  52. One of our high schools here had 3 bomb threats 3 days in a row. It’s insane! And my 11-year-old daughter had her first “lock down” for an intruder drill a few weeks ago. Only they didn’t realize it was a drill. She said she sat on the floor in the back of the class room silently telling everyone in her life she loved them. I almost cried.

    It’s hard to know that this is a part of their life now. It’s not fire drills or tornado drills. It’s intruder drills, which have the potential to be so much worse than natural disasters. We live in a small town, but I’m not dumb enough to believe it can’t happen here. I can hope and pray it never happens here. I’ve witnessed a student stabbing another student when I was in high school, it was beyond horrifying. Like all parents, I pray my children never have to witness this or go through an actual even like this. My heart breaks for all those children who have.

  53. They didn’t send home notes at our school, but they did leave a message on our voicemail, which is how my daughter heard about it. I know they’re doing everything they can – in fact, it may end up that Thursday is the SAFEST day in elementary school history. But it’s terrible to have to worry about your kids at school.

  54. I worry about the potential for linking school and learning with violence and defense in young minds. I’m sorry your daughter has to go through this. I’m sorry you have to parent through this.

  55. We are in the same district. I am feeling lots of things over this – but stress is high on the list. The kid and I have talked about it – he said he isn’t worried. We haven’t decided if he will stay home or not. I pray it’s nothing.

  56. It makes me so sad for our kids that they have to think about these things. I remember being sent home from the Jr High because someone that had been stalking a High School student showed up with a gun. (The 2 schools were connected) This was back in the 80’s & thinking about it now it seems so strange that they would send hundreds of kids out into the street like that.

  57. Partenting – it all comes down to parenting. Why would a young child think that threatening a school or anywhere with violence is ok? I think the 4 years I was in High school we had one bomb threat… and all we did was treat it like a fire drill. Only later did we find out what the problem was. Keep your children aware and informed but dont scare them. A hard line to walk. I try it every day.

  58. We got the letter too. School shouldn’t be scary. It just shouldn’t. I didn’t get much sleep last night between prayers & trying to decide what to do about thurs. I don’t want to be afraid but when the thoughts creep in and you try your hardest to push them out the fact of the matter is you love your child. I love my daughter, I love my son. I wish I knew what to do.

  59. Have they confirmed the district? I know North East, Northside, and Somerset for sure have all received identical letters.
    Our kids aren’t in school yet, but my husband does teach here. I wondered too if it was an attempt to extend Fiesta weekend, but still get concerned about the “what ifs.”

  60. Our school district sends this type of notice via email. We also get advance notice of “Intruder” drills so that we can talk about them at home.. and my daughter is in high school. It never gets any less scary.
    There was a bank robbery in our town a few months ago and they used the lock-down that had been practiced over and over because it was near all of our schools. We got a text message to let us know what the lock down was for and that everyone was ok. I realized then that the drills were useful for more than just the obvious.
    I want my child to always FEEL safe at school. IF she didn’t feel safe on Thursday because of the threat, she wouldn’t be there. I’m sorry your sweet girl has to think about this.. too much for our little ones.

  61. IMO, they should really consider an envelope or staple on those kinds of letters. To at least minimize young students’ reading them.

  62. Thank you for this post. Really important. As much as we wish this stuff didn’t happen, we can’t hide from it.

  63. OMG I feel for you. It’s scary that these drills are necessary but good that they’re having them. To think that, when I was a kid, a fire drill was scary. This puts it all in to perspective >.<

  64. This is one of the scary, terribly, horrible things about being a parent: helping you child not be terrified of the world when it is something which is terrifying. I don’t know what I would do in that situation. The anxiety I would feel about “what if” and the assurances of knowing more safety measures are being taken. Still, I would be right about where you are: Do I send her? How is she going to handle the day? Will she handle the day? Should I make her go?
    Sending you love and light…because that’s all I’ve got.

  65. So sad. Unfortunately we have to have those drills. When I was a kid, we had drills in case of Nuclear attack, tornadoes, fire, etc. We were educated about weirdos, pedophiles, and the like. Times really haven’t changed, awareness has because of the digital age we live in. There is an old movie from the 60’s called Ladybug, Ladybug about rural students who react to a warning of a nuclear attack not knowing if it is real or just a drill. The issues have changed but fear is fear.

  66. I wish schools would climb into the 21st century and utilize email for these types of things, rather than printed letters. I miss 3/4 of the shit my son’s teacher sends home because he loses it or it gets ripped in his bag.

  67. If it were me (and about 18 months ago, it was. We had a school scare back in Houston that had a LOT of us parents keeping our kids home.), I’d keep her home for your own sense of well being, and for hers. She already read the notice, and probably has that fear. Letting her stay where she feels safe one day won’t hurt anyone. But then, I’m an overprotective mom of an elementary school kid, as well…and still cry when I think about Sandy Hook.

  68. Holy shitting hell. I can’t even imagine what ANY of that must be like. But thank the various deities that you’ve written about this; now I just hope that parents/responsible guardians don’t ignore it.

  69. When my daughter was in Kindergarten her school was on lock down because there was an active shooter in the area and he was holding hostages nearby. This all happened in the early morning hours but was still active when school started at 8:30. So when I take her to school I see that the SWAT team is bringing the kids into the school! I was in tears thinking do I send her to school or take her home? I called my husband and he told me to get the hell out of there and go home! So I did and would do it again if needed. I say keep her home because it’s better safe than sorry.

  70. My son had to have a school attack drill in kindergarten this year and I had such mixed feelings about it. I know it’s good to help them prepare, I just wish that I could wrap him up so he never has to deal with things like this.

  71. Something like this should have gone home in a sealed envelope. You do what you feel is best for Hailey and for you.

    On a more positive note, I wish I’d gone to school somewhere that had a Fiesta Friday…

  72. Hi, Jenny (hugs). I’m going to hope whoever sent the email is caught before Thursday. If it was a kid, he/she will, chances are, talk about it. Also, since it was through email, chances are good the authorities will be able to trace at least some of the sender’s information, like their IP address. It might be as simple as some kid sending the message from their home, not knowing all the ways it could be tracked.
    Best to you. I’ll keep following the story and sending good thoughts to all.

  73. I live in San Antonio as well. Fortunately, my daughter’s school sent emails and phone calls instead of sending the letter home with the kids. I am so thankful for this. It allowed us to talk to her about it, without the fear already being there from what she had read/heard. I am confident in the agencies working on this incident. My daughter will be at school Thursday, by her choice.

  74. Thank you for writing about this. Parents need to always remind their children to do what is right not what is popular and tell us when they hear something that may be dangerous. Our school has these drills every month and I can tell when they have had one as my daughter- who is in the 6th grade- has nightmares that night. I now have a schedule of when they will be happening so I can prepare her ahead of time and that seems to be working for her. We are just a little charter school- under 300 kids, K-8 and are an open campus so I say a little prayer everyday I drop them off at school. I would keep her home to give both of you peace of mind.

  75. The day after the Newtown shootings, our sons’ school district had to go on lockdown for a car chase. My younger son was terrified. His teacher told us that all the children were. While they do lockdown drills here and there (dark and quiet and still), some of us convinced the school district to give the teachers Active Threat training (what I’ve had to take at the university level). It’s a start to teaching our children what to do. I then went through what I think kids should do when confronted with something like this with both of them. It made my son feel better (having a plan), but I can also see how that won’t work for all children out there. All in all, I think it’s important for all of us to speak with our kids about this (how it’s almost always a prank, but also about what to do if it isn’t), even though it just sucks so much. All of this rambling is just to say I know that feeling you’re feeling and thanks for sharing this here.

  76. If this is a kid’s prank, just imagine being the parent of that asshole. Jesus. I hate that these people even exist. It’s a sign of a tiny wiener and the need for attention. Sick that people find enjoyment out of disrupting the lives of others and scaring little children. Good luck. I don’t know what I’d do.

  77. Be sure you talk it over with her. Remind her when bad things happen, good people rushing to help. There are always helpers. Also point out all the security measures they take at school, and help her to feel more comfortable about being there.

    After The Newtown shootings, we didn’t say anything to her kindergartner because we hid The news from her. We didn’t know that a friends son had told her all about it, told her that all the kids he died were all kindergartners, and other teachers too. Are formerly happy little girl who loved to school with a passion sadly cried in the mornings and refused to get up. It went on about a month before we finally got to the bottom of it. It took a while, but she’s back to being happy with going to school, but I wish we had talked about her when it first happened. She was terrified for a month and didn’t want to say anything. It was an opportunity missed, and we make sure we all discuss these things and help her process them now.

    Please don’t ever assume your kids don’t know anything, as a schoolteacher I should have known better… Kids always blew things out of proportion on the bus rides home. We thought we were safe because she doesn’t ride the bus home, and we didn’t expect a friends son to tell her this. We have definitely learned a valuable lesson, and that mistake will not be made again in the future.

  78. Thank you so much for your message. As a teacher, I deal with these kinds of things all the time. Frankly, how parents deal with the problem at home makes a huge difference in how kids deal with it at school.
    P.S. Love everything you write! Thanks for the entertainment!

  79. That’s just rotten all around. What I am glad about is that it sounds like you’re putting this into context for Hailey and letting her express her feelings around it. I hope everyone stays safe.

  80. My heart hurts for all the kids who this makes a little more scared to go to school. It hurts for the parents who try to do their best and make their child’s world a safer place. Also that the kids have to have drills for safety against attacks while they’re in school. I hope that whatever your decision know that your daughter’s school will do it’s best to keep her safe if you decide to send her. If you don’t I like the idea of seeing something beautiful. Go to a botanical garden, the zoo or just someplace where you can appreciate the beautiful world we live in with your beautiful child.

  81. My grandchildren’s school was recently put in lock down. The father of a student was mad at his wife and threatened to go to the elementary school and kill their son and anyone else that he saw. He wanted maximum terror. This was all done via text message on cellphones. She’s in Hurst. It was scary and all we could do was talk it out. It turned out the little boy with the crazy father was in my grandson’s kindergarten class and was ostracized by the other kids. We had my grandson friend him. It wasn’t his fault his dad was a whack job. The little boy moved away a few months later.

  82. My two older daughters, in 3rd grade and kindergarten, were having an argument last week about which “code” in their school was for storms and which was for “a bad person who wants to hurt us”. When I realized what they were talking about I almost cried. I’m so sorry you and Hailey and your community have to face this, it just seems so unfair.

  83. My son called me from the nurses office very sick last year. When I showed up at the school to retrieve him I was turned away at the front drive because it was confirmed that there was a student with a gun on campus. I immediately text him telling him where, and how, to spot an alternate escape route and something to hide behind (just in case).
    Thankfully the student (and weapon) were found and no one was injured.
    This was a wake up call for me to talk to him and teach things that perhaps the school hadn’t.
    I’m seeing (on my local Austin news) the threats you are talking about. It’s horrifying…. and I assure you they’re not telling us half of the story. Hopefully it’s nothing….. but better to keep your child home….Safe….. and not risk it.

  84. That sucks. This sucks. It sucks that little children have to be afraid. It sucks that parents have to be afraid to send our children to school. I’m sorry this is happening. Please keep us updated.

  85. This happened in our schools about 2 years ago (So Jessica was a 1st grader). A woman called a radio station and said her husband was crazy, had grabbed a gun and threatened the schools in our county. The kids immediately went on code red lockdown (hiding under the desks, in the dark, totally silent, etc) Poor Jess came home TERRIFIED. Turns out the woman was some nut job. There was never any threat, but I HATE that she has to go through this. I agree that we have to talk to our kids as much as we can. And, I’d keep Hailey home if I were you. I know that is “giving in” to whatever crackpot made the threat, but I’d do it anyway.

  86. My heart goes out to the one kid in every class who dreads a scare because the class bullies will jump on the chance to insist to the newest and most naive substitute teacher that the kid they bully is the source of the scare. Already bullied kid will then be interrogated by clueless staff who have no evidence. The class bullies will get off scot free once again even though what they just did was about as sociopathic as the actual brat who faked a threat to get out of something of earth-shattering importance to them. Thank god in my day a credible threat was actually very hard to pull off. There were no cell phones, no email, no payphones in the school either or within about a mile of school grounds. What mayhem would have occurred back then if we’d all had the ease of deliberate miscommunication kids have now?

  87. Even if nothing happens (which I’m counting on, obviously), if sending Hailey to school that day is going to make you a nervous wreck, don’t do it. One missed day won’t hurt her, and a day at home with you sounds pretty fabulous and educational to me. Love you.

  88. I teach in a public school, and I’ve we’ve had it all in the past 15 years–lockdowns, bomb threats, and evacuations. I was in a classroom during Columbine, and I was in a classroom during Newtown, and my students, though in high school, are still kids, and are still terrified. I can’t help shake the feeling each morning, when I drop my son off at his public school and head off to mine, that something might happen to one of us. This, and not even my annoyance at Common Core crappage, is why I really wish I could homeschool my kid. Violence in America, particularly at our schools and universities, is one of the great tragedies of our nation that doesn’t seem to be going away. Unjust!

  89. that’s terrifying, and in some ways it makes me thankful that I don’t have kids of my own to worry about… but then I think of all my friends who have children, who are pregnant or are trying, and I’m so scared for them.

    seriously, why can’t we all just get along, and if we can’t get along can we not blow up anyone?

  90. Finals are on their way. This is when I get scared because so many colleges get threats around this time. Last year during the stabbing at the community college in Texas, every TV in the school was set to CNN that day. One of my teachers spent most of class making sure we knew what to do and where to hide in case something ever happened.

    As much as I hate living in fear, keep her home. Have a movie marathon and bake more cakes cookies and brownies than any sane person should. Go to the zoo and ask the keepers what the animals names are. Do some science and blow shit up. Something fun and memorable for the both of you to enjoy.

  91. I have parented through both Columbine and 9/11. I leave a TV on all day long for notifications via the local news channels — it’s the quickest way here to know if there is a problem. I can tell you that having a Family Plan for those emergencies is essential and calming. Having your child know that you will always come for them helps them. Let them know they don’t have to be a hero — just be safe.

    Schools should be monuments to education and knowledge.

    And no one ever said “gosh, I wish I’d sent my kid to school” on the day of an event. If it feels good to keep her home, just do it.

  92. I hate that our children have to go through this. When my son had his first “lockdown” drill, I think I was more upset than he was. He was already resigned to the fact that this is the world he lives in. As a parent, I wasn’t quite ready to deal with it. But I have to say, I’ve taught him well because he did report a gun in school and saved lives.
    I did my first “lockdown” drill as a preschool teacher last year and it hit me so hard. All of these little people were relying on me to keep them safe, calm, alive. And I had that moment when I knew without a doubt, I’d give my life for any of them.
    Our world is not an easy place. But as parents, we have to do all we can to teach our children how to wade through the chaos and how to handle things that are so scary they can’t process it.

  93. Words fail me. Love to you all.
    And I may be giving my daughter’s teacher a fire extinguisher for her doorway, after reading one of those comments above.
    All of these things shake me pretty strongly, and I’ll take whatever helps. (I’m from Connecticut, and have friends in Newtown, on that day a year+ ago, I didn’t know for hours which school that little girl was attending. By the grace of a steep ridgeline, she didn’t go to Sandy Hook.)

  94. What is our world coming to that we have to worry about our kids in a place where they should be safe? Hugs to you and Hailey. I know this can’t be easy to deal with.

  95. This is very hard on parents, your advice is the best advice out there…TALK. TO. YOUR. KIDS! I remember the days when my son used to bring home notes warning us of random Mountain Lions supposedly stalking our family pets. It is a shame it has come to notes like yours.

    9/11 happened when my son was in elementary school. I asked him what his thoughts and feelings were about what was happening. His response was that he felt safe because the military would protect us. He is currently serving in the Air Force.

    Remember there will be many other parents keeping their children home on Thursday and the school will understand.

  96. I teach 7th grade & we regularly practice lock-downs. We were told in advance that an “Intruder” wearing an orange safety vest labeled intruder would roam the halls until someone alerted the front office to go into lock-down. I came face to face with the intruder & I was still unnerved despite knowing it wasn’t real. Prayers for your girl & for all of our children having to prepare for the unknown evil in the world. Thank you for bringing light to this – we do need to talk about it.

  97. One of my friend’s got that same letter (San Antonio) and she was absolutely furious. She said she was not going to let her kids out of the car unless she saw the police there for protection.

  98. Like you, I think it’s so sad and scary and fucking AWFUL that those drills are necessary, but I’m so glad that schools are being proactive and doing them. I just…I can’t imagine how hard this must be for the school administrators, teachers, and parents. My son is only 15 months, so I’m not at that point yet, but the idea of having to talk to him about it makes me physically ill. Best of luck and big hugs to you and your family!

  99. There was a “threat at my daughter’s high school at Christmas time. She missed 2 days of school because I figured I would rather have her grades suffer than have the threat turn into reality. It is a scary world we are living in.

  100. I’m glad they are letting the parents know about it and giving you the option of what to do. I work at a college and there was a student who made “credible threats” against people on our campus. We weren’t notified until after a few employees and students saw the report ON THE NEWS. I understand not wanting to cause panic, but people should know when there’s a threat made.

  101. Auburn University is going through this right now. Last week they erred on the side of caution when a note scrawled on a bathroom wall said something about this person unleashing death of Biblical proportions across campus on 4/18. I’m guessing someone wanted a long Easter weekend. Today they’re at it again because they found another note…on another bathroom wall. I’m thinking someone is copycatting because they didn’t want to take a math test or something. Auburn is closed again today, and again today the FBI and local police are combing the campus. I want to know, student would-be-bombers….is it worth the free day off for you running your mouth to put all these people to work where they needn’t be? I bet you and your parents sometimes complain about paying taxes and why are they so high? Because the police and security coverage your little stunt demands costs money. Instead of paying the 30 people (or whatever) that are normally on duty today, they’re paying men and women who had the day off to come in. They’re paying people overtime to have people working to cover both the campus as well as the rest of the town to keep other areas safe and functioning. From now on, buddy? Just skip class like normal people.

  102. I hate that this is a discussion I’ve had to have with my kids. I do. But it’s an important one nonetheless and we talked about it shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy.

  103. Baby girl, keep her home. Missing a day of school is no biggie and you send her a message that you don’t take risks with her safety. Maybe brainstorm with her some ways that good people can counteract the acts of bad people and then spend the day doing some if the things. Spend the day anonymously serving neighbors or volunteering for a local charity or writing kind letters to victims of random school violence. Turn the scare into a proactive learning experience that will form prescioys memories and teach her healthy ways to respond to stress. You got this.

  104. I work at the District Office of a High School District in California. Lock down drills and “shooter on premises” drills have become bi-yearly events not only at the school sites, but here at the District Office as well. We have been on lock down 3 times in the last year. Once was legitimate gunmen who had robbed a nearby bank and escaped on foot onto our property to hide, the other two were unstable individuals looking for attention by walking into our lobby and claiming to have a bomb (neither one actually did).
    Every single one fills my husband with terror and I can only imagine how a parent must feel when it is their child in the building on lock down. I am so sorry that families today have to go through this at all. I am sorry Hailey is having to come to terms with this new reality we live in. I sincerely hope that Thursday is a hoax (as sick as that would be) and that all the children in your city are safe.

  105. I heard about this today. I do not live in your area but work closely with our staff who do live and work there. And I agree with you. I know my own daughter told me that a kid “made threats” that even the teacher didn’t take seriously…but who is to say he wasn’t serious?!? Scary and sad.

  106. Jesus Christ. I pray this is just a stupid hoax and nothing more. The closest I ever came to anything like this was a lockdown at my son’s school because of someone with a gun in the apartment complex across the street. Thankfully it was early and school hadn’t begun. All children were told to return home until further notice and those on buses were deferred to the local middle school. I remember the days when I was in school and ocassionally someone thought it would be “funny” to pull the fire alarm and we’d all have to evacuate the school for 20 mins. or so.

  107. I live in a town that had a school shooting, one of the first. Then last week someone made a bomb threat on an area school. It got blown out of proportion over the weekend and parents were panicking when they saw the police presence at school. We’ve been through it once, so it’s hard not to have a knee-jerk reaction at another threat, even though the kid who made it had been arrested before parents heard about it. So I sympathize with what you’re saying, 100%. I can’t offer any advice about keeping your daughter home, because that’s something a parent needs to decide on their own. It’s just a shame this is something we have to worry about.

  108. I’m so sorry any of you have to deal with this stuff, and what a horrible balance to play: drills + anxiety vs unprepared + real-live-violence. Thank you all for being active participants in your kids lives – that’s the most important and heartening thing I’ve heard in a while. You guys are rockstars, and I hope that you feel all the love, prayers, and positive energy from the rest of us, no matter what you are going through. And I thank you for making it your goal to raise decent, honest, well-behaved kids that will make this world a better place, just for the way you’ve taught them to handle it. I am in awe of you all.

    (Reason why I think y’all are above & beyond awesome: My sister works in child services, from which I have heard numerous stories of various levels of neglect. I worked for the largest child-care provider in my state, where most parents didn’t know any of the names of the people who watched their child at daycare/latchkey/spring break, among other things. You can get an idea as to where I’ve kind of lost faith that there are large numbers of decent, caring, and nurturing parents out there: I’ve seen larger numbers to the opposite. I knew you guys existed – I just didn’t know WHERE.)

  109. Oh gosh, I’m sorry. That’s so hard to have to worry about something like this. I remember when I was in…first grade some idiot said he had a bomb and the whole transferred like ants to a church across the street. That was scary. Yeah. It wasn’t true,thankfully. I hope this is just a hoax. I really do. I will be praying. <3

  110. I had another thought!
    Someone else posted about standing guard at the school. You could go all Atticus Finch and bring your chair and newspaper and stop Every. Single. Person. who approaches!

  111. I’m wondering if it’s got something to do with the 15 year anniversary of Columbine which was April 20th. Seems to me people like to play up things on/around anniversaries- here in Milwaukee it’s a big thing around the time Dahmer was caught to make tours and other stuff which only causes the victims and family members a constant reminder.

  112. My youngest child (a teen at the time) was standing between me and her father when the three of us witnessed a triple murder.

    There is no worse feeling on earth than “I can’t keep them safe”.

  113. We got an email about it yesterday, too. We’re in another (fairly close) district, and I think it was just our district doing some CYA just in case the letter was a distraction so who ever this person is can target another school. Rationally, I’m pretty sure people who really want to hurt people don’t tell folks about it before hand, but I still have that rock in my stomach feeling, and I think it’s going to be very hard to let my 10 year-old walk out the door on Thursday… if I let her walk out the door. I hate people who use our fears for our children against us. And I hate that it works on me. I’m not a big prayer, but I’m thinking all the positive thoughts I can this week that all children can go to school in safety and love, and all parents can send them without fear.

  114. Makes me nostalgic for bomb drills. Hang in there, and I’m hoping it all turns out to be nothing.

  115. How horrible. I’m so sorry. My kids do “code red” drills, too, and it makes me sad. I think if I were in your position I would consider making it a personal family field trip day and take my kids to a museum or something. I’m sure my husband would say we should send them to school.

  116. That’s terrifying. Even though it’s likely a hoax, I would probably keep my child home in that situation. Better to err on the side of caution when it comes to school threats like that.

    And thank you for this post. The more people who talk to their kids about what a horrible thing these threats are, and how NOT funny they are, the safer our schools with ultimately be.

  117. Last week in Calgary, Canada, a young man went to a party celebrating the end of the university year with his friends. Within the hour, he had stabbed five other students to death. To the best of everyone’s knowledge, he had what appeared to be a psychotic break secondary to undiagnosed schitzophrenia. My heart breaks for all of these students and their families. Please, please, please, take care of each other, take care of yourself and ask your legislators to increase funding and support for mental health services. Perhaps we can reduce the violence and trauma in our schools.

  118. It’s likely a hoax but I don’t know if I’d be able to let my daughter go to school that day, just in case. I’d just be too worried. That’s a horrible decision to have to make.

  119. Our Local Middle and High School would routinely get bomb threats during mid terms and finals. Twice we had to get kids home after evacuation. All the other times, as you stated it was kids. You have a very long reach. It will be passed on. Thanks for sharing this.

  120. We went out to eat at IHOP Sunday morning before going out to target shoot with our pistol and rifle. I was in a bad mood because I didn’t want IHOP for breakfast (we were out of town and our plans for breakfast were thwarted by a reservation-only Easter brunch at the hotel) and when asked by the cashier at the end of the meal if we had any plans for the day, my immediate reply was “We’re going shooting”. Didn’t think about how that might sound to someone in a public place until after seeing the alarmed look on her face. Sad when the current state of public safety is such that you can’t even casually mention target practice in a state where guns are owned by a large majority of the population (Idaho).

  121. Awful. I work at a university that had a shooting (not a mass shooting, the shooter had one specific victim; however, we were locked down for 90 minutes and it still rocked our campus.) I am very angry that violence invaded my campus and I teach adults. I cannot imagine addressing this with children or even adolescents. Schools should be safe. Threats of violence should never be a practical joke or prank. Please hug Hailey for me.

  122. Hugs. My youngest, bless his heart, has twice contacted the school authorities about kids. In the 4th grade, he told me that a girl was talking about hurting herself. I called the school immediately. She was in danger. A 9 year old. :'( This year in 6th year, he informed the principal on his own about a boy who was bullying his best friend. I am proud of him but wish that he lived in a world which he didn’t feel he has to protect people. It worries me.

  123. My husband remembers the duck and cover a bomb drills. When I was in 4th grade our school had a bomb threat right after the Kent State shootings. It was a credible threat because there was an actual bombing at CSU Fresno. It’s sad somethings never change.

  124. I have 3 kids in elementary school and have found some sanity with their safety by following Lenore Skenazy’s blog,

    Statistically, our children are safer than ever but we don’t feel safer with all of these drills (that induce so much anxiety) and reports of threats against schools. Our schools are safer than ever! More kids are killed each day in auto accidents but the media only reports the sensational deaths like school violence and kidnappings like they were an everyday event. They are still extremely rare.
    I worry more about idiot drivers texting and driving than I do about sending my kids to school each day.

  125. My father taught at a tiny rural high school from 1964 – 1996 and he once escorted a drunk, furious, hunting rifle toting father from the high school building. My dad just walked up to him, put his arm around him and started talking to the potential gunman about the hunting season and if the salmon run was anything like folks had expected and if his mama had finally got her roof fixed. And Dad turned him around and started walking him out of the school building when the gunman protested that he was mad and was gonna gun down the principal. My dad explained patiently that they really couldn’t allow guns in the high school but he really understood why the guy might feel upset with the principal and continued to walk him out of the building, into the parking lot, to the guy’s truck and they stood out by the guy’s truck talking about Chevy versus Ford and if those sissy import trucks were any good (Toyota had just introduced their cute baby trucks to American market) and then Dad opened up his door for him and helped him get in his truck and watched as the guy started to drive out of the parking lot. Then Dad galloped back into the school, told the principal to lock himself into his office and called the sheriff. When I think about the lock-downs my daughters now experience and the fear every teacher and administrator has in the back of their head every day and the heroes who have protected our children over and over in school based violence situations, I know I can count my own father among those people. I once asked him where he found the courage to approach the drunken gun toting man and he said it wasn’t courage – it came from fear (he was very scared that his kids would be hurt) and from a total sense of outrage – Dad says he kept hearing in his head “This is MY school!” I wonder sometimes what would have happened if my father had not run into the guy in the hallway. Would someone else have stepped up? For each one of us we may some day have the opportunity to protect children from the evil that walks this world, but in the mean time, every time our children practice lock down we are protecting them – we are teaching them how to deal with a potential danger, just like a fire drill or earthquake drill. And remember, we are also teaching our children how to be resilient and to face frightening situations as we talk to them about violence and safety at their schools.

  126. There are so many things that they don’t include in that “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book. I mean seriously, no one warned us that we were going to have to protect our babies from BATSHIT CRAZY people but even worse, save them from the threat of said people. It gets increasingly more difficult to teach them about the good in the world because the examples of good are coming fewer and farther between.
    My 10 year old has horrible anxiety. Like to the point that he has sores in his mouth from chewing. He gets these tension headaches in the back of his neck which cause him to throw up at least once a week. We have noticed the signs and symptoms and done our best to help try to prevent them from happening but I am not Super Mom… and they still happen.
    Last week, a local high school was on lockdown. Reports said that 3 armed gunmen went into the school around 1 pm. It was not until after 6 pm that the building was cleared and the students were released to their parents. There were so many conflicting stories and the local news was reporting anything they heard rather than verify it first. It turns out that it was a fake call to 911 but still, it was a nightmare.
    Since then, I have asked myself if I am acting in the best interest of my children by sending them to a school for their education. It makes me question a LOT that I do as a parent. We took my son to see a movie the other night for his birthday and I felt myself checking out all of the people in the room and keeping watch of the door to make sure no one came in.
    I hate living like this. I hate feeling like a hostage. At some point I have to stop because I feel like I am being a complete hypocrite. I am telling my son to relax, not to worry, not to allow others to have that kind of control but I am not living it. What kind of example is that?
    I say all of that to say this… being a parent sucks sometimes. Fortunately, the good so out-shines the bad that you are somehow able to breathe. The only thing that I can tell you for certain is that you will never, ever be perfect. You make the best decision that you can for your child until they are able to make that decision for themselves. Then you hope/pray that you have equipped them with the skills to do their very best. It is no consolation but sometimes it helps me to know that no matter what, I have done my best so that they can do their best. There are no guarantees and people are assholes but I know that my kids are as prepared as I could get them. Their armor is not as thick as I would like but it is getting stronger.

  127. I’m reading this while sitting at a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (where the CSI labs and such are for my state). Recently we all had mandatory ‘active shooter’ training. Some silly high percentage of mass shootings or other violent acts happen in businesses. Schools get the publicity, but as adults we need to be vigilant as well. Talk to your kids about speaking up, but also think about what you’d do at your own job. Run, hide, fight.

  128. Back in High School for me, we started having bomb threats a week after Columbine, and they continued through the rest of my junior year until 3/4 of my senior year was done. At first it was scary, then it got to the point it was commonplace, and that thought is just as scary.

    I’m so sorry that Hailey has to go through this. I know how stressful it was for me as a High School student to go through it, I can’t even imagine what an elementary school aged student feels.

  129. This is absolutely sickening. It’s things like this that convince me I will never have a child and never be a mother. Having to worry about whether my little would come home or not from school or whether they are prepared enough in the event of an attack… No, thank you.

  130. I love that you wrote about this. I love that you are willing to write about not only the beautiful and hilarious, but also…the ugly. the scary. the horrifying. it’s one of the reasons we all love you.

  131. I grew up in a small town in the deep south, and as a child the scariest thing we had to go through was the annual tornado drill. But I vividly remember standing in the front office of my high school one morning and overhearing a bomb threat being played back over the answering machine. At the time it was something that could almost be laughed off, yes it meant that the police and the sniffer dog would be dropping by later that morning, but it was completely understood that it wasn’t a serious threat but rather a childish prank made in the effort to avoid attending regular classes that day. Looking back, it’s astonishing how nonplussed everyone was about the whole thing…it just wasn’t something to be actually concerned about.

    These days I would never be so nonchalant about a violent threat being made toward a school and the children within it. It really is just a sad commentary on how much the world has changed in only a handful of years.

    Not being a parent myself, I can’t say if I would encourage you to keep Hailey home on Thursday or not. Perhaps the best course of action is to have an open, honest discussion with her about the situation and leave the final decision in her hands.

  132. When I was in second grade a bomb threat was made against my school – these were the days before mass violence in schools was so common, but it gave me my first of many panic attacks. I would get sick to my stomach. My heart aches for the other children who feel this way, like your Hailey. My mom was pretty great about keeping my calm and carrying on, but was also pretty great to let me skip out when I was overly panicked. I don’t know how she managed to balance the delicate line of acknowledging my worries without making them worse. Bless that woman for handling an anxious child so well (she’s still the first person to help me off the edge when I start to go that way).

  133. Scary stuff!! I know it is sad that our babies have to grow up with this kid of stuff happening. Claire was talking to one of her friends the other day and she just nonchalantly mentioned that some kids have sex in their corner stairwells. These are junior high kids!!!! SMH.

  134. A couple of weeks ago my childs school was put on lockdown because someone called a threatened to “shoot the place up” (come to find out he was in a bar across town, drunk). But our school district decided NOT to tell the parents what was going on despite this being done 10 minutes before they were to leave for the day. SO my husband shows up to pick up my daughter was told to get off school property by the police holding automatic rifles and was told NOTHING for an HOUR!!! The school boards rationale was that the didn’t want a bunch of parents showing up and possibly getting in the way or distracting the police. All the children in the school were an hour late getting home with no explanation until it was over! AHHH! What a terrifying hour that was. I feel your anxiety, do what make your heart feel right.

  135. Check out – I implemented this program at our elementary school this year and everyone LOVES having extra dads on campus. Dads love it, too. Bonus byproduct = more men on campus to deter creepers. Can’t have too many eyes looking out for our babies!

  136. It is scary. I’m grateful that my district sends parents messages in the event of any emergency (like last week when the middle school was evacuated because someone burned microwave popcorn!). But as an elementary teacher, I really hate having to talk to kids about lockdown drills. I don’t even want them to entertain the idea that school might not always be safe.

  137. Hi, I’ve started to read your blog not so long ago (after I’ve read your book, I loved it), but this post is the most moving I’ve read so far. I live in Austria and shit happens everywhere, but I’ve not realized how serious the situation in American schools is. For me it was more like something really really bad happens from time to time, but that’s (sadly) normal in such a big country. But reading the post and the comments it seems that those things we hear about are not sad single tragedies, but it seems to be very common. I wish nobody would have to worry about their children being at school. I wish you all the strength you need and hope that the letter will really proof to be a hoax. All the best, Viki

  138. Good advice! Why couldn’t they just say the school so kids at other schools don’t get as scared? I’m glad schools are taking more precautions but whatever happened to kids being kids and playing with toy guns abs out of aggravation just saying “I’m gonna kill you”without actually meaning it if course.

  139. I got shivers reading this. I have a 16 year old that I know has gone through fire drills in his school but he has never filled me in on what goes on during these drills. And I have never known to ask. I just assumed that their drills mimicked those when I was a kid. Boy has the world changed. Thank you so much for informing me, for making me a bit smarter, a little more aware. And just like you, I wish we didn’t need to discuss topics of this nature but it’s best that we all help keep each other in the know since we now have to discuss. I’ll be asking my son tonight.

  140. I am a grown-ass 40 year-old woman, and I got freaked out at a lockdown drill at my college today. It doesn’t change no matter how old you are. Hugs to your kiddo!

  141. We actually had a circumstance last year when my daughter came home stressed the fuck out and it took me a few minutes before she could tell me what was wrong. She finally said that she had heard a rumor that a kid was bringing a gun to school the next day and he was going to kill someone, and she didn’t want to go to school. She admitted that she only heard about it from a friend of a friend and didn’t know the kid personally, but she was scared regardless. I was able to call the school and they did track down the source of the rumor and the resolution of the issue. Thankfully, we were not the only parents who called upon hearing the rumors floating around.

    It’s sad that in this day and age we have to take those kind of rumors seriously, but imagine if we didn’t and something happened. I was grateful she felt comfortable enough to say something, and glad the school took the issue seriously and didn’t just brush it off. Let your kids know that somethings shouldn’t stay a secret.

  142. Since I live in your area, many of my friends are faced with the same issue. I’m so sorry. This sucks and someone needs an old fashioned ass whooping. People suck. And the schools that sent the letters home with the kids ought to be smacked.

  143. I think this is a good time to open lines of communication with your children about any and all things that make your kids scared at school just to keep the lines of communication open in this busy world. I didn’t grow up in the time of terrorists or random gunmen but I think I would have liked to talk to an adult who truly cared about how scary it was to be the one picked on and whispered about all day at school. In other words, don’t dismiss the little things in your focus on the big things.

    I work at a school and if something happens here…. we’re so woefully unprepared. There is a lot of talk though, but that won’t do anyone any good in a real crisis. Be glad you have a proactive school!

    And as an aside, when I was in high school letters were sent home to the parents that said is your child moody? sleeping all the time? eating like there’s no tomorrow? had a change in friends? etc… if you answered yes to any of these YOUR KID IS ON DRUGS!!! Holy cow, all those behaviors are also normal teen behaviors. Needless to say, that letter never made it to my parents’ hands.

  144. We had so many bomb threats in my middle/high school (lots of kids wanted to get out of class, i guess). I remember standing outside or in another school’s gym for hooouuuuurrssss waiting for the bomb squad to finish their search. Sigh.

  145. Live in the same district, possess the same letter…and have no idea what to do about it. While not a gambler, the thought of letting fear win makes me livid.

  146. I’m a teacher in my 30s. Having been through this a few times with my district and other districts in the area, I can tell you that when I tell my parents, they want ME to stay home. I generally say that my stand against this is to go to school, teach my students and hold a light against the monsters in the darkness…it’s not particularly courageous and I pray it never happens, but I do it…but I also emphasize that it is my choice and I think your plan to talk to your daughter and decide together is the best way to handle it. Praying they find the person before you have to decide…

  147. I know how u feel. Jacob and Caitlyns school called me last year asking why they didn’t show up to school. (If they’re absent and parents don’t call the school they call u to ensure nothing happened to them.) Well I got frantic. I dropped them off myself and watched them walk in. Turned out they had a drill for when a gunman shows up right as my kids walked in (they were a few minutes late that day) and the office receptionist hustled them into the closet before marking them in attendance then ushered them off to class afterwards. Needless to say this mama was terrified.
    All u can do is explain to her how although it shouldn’t be, it’s important that everyone know how to handle those situations should they arise to keep every one safe.

  148. My daughter was a junior in high school when the columbine shootings occurred. We lived in California, but the fear i felt in sending her off to school was paralyzing from that day forward. She was applying to and being courted by universities across the u.s. i couldn’t breathe . I understand your fear and confusion and just know i have been there. I have no words of wisdom to offer. Just remember to breathe deeply …

  149. We had a student pull something like this here a few days ago. It is no laughing matter, and as he is old enough to be facing criminal charges and even jail time for it, he’s learning the hard way it’s no laughing matter. I pray that it is just a bad prank. Regardless of that though, I hope that they find whomever is responsible, and the matter is dealt with safely.

  150. I lived in Northern Virginia during the sniper incident. One shooting was 2 miles from my house. Another was at the Home Depot my husbands parents frequent. But when the child at that school got shot … it was all I could do not to wall myself and my daughter up in my house. And I don’t have anxiety issues! I can only imagine how you are feeling and how scared Hailey must be. Do what you feel is right and do not feel bad if nothing happens on Thursday and you kept Hailey home. Always better safe than sorry. ((HUGS))

    and I agree with 35JupiterDrive … I want a world where children are safe too!

  151. It really sucks how this has become part of the regular school routine. Back when I was in middle school (in the ’80’s) we had multiple bomb threats during the year that the school called “fire drills”, but we always knew what they really were because the police showed up to search the building. There was never anything found and we all knew it was just some student wanting to get out of a test, so it didn’t stress us out. It happened often enough that many of our teachers just continued class outside. These days, enough horrible things have happened that we can no longer assume these types of things are just a harmless prank.

  152. I want my world back- the world where schools, holy places (pick whatever religion works for you), movie theaters and regular theaters were considered sacred and off limits.

    Okay, that world probably never existed, but that’s how I thought things were as a kid, and I’d like the kids of today and tomorrow to have that.

    I hope that it’s a prank, and that the police/fbi folks can trace the phone number/scent/ip address and thenfind whomever is responsible. Fingers crossed for you and your family, and all the kids who go to school.

  153. Homeschooling is a great option. I taught in public school for 10 years, and I believe that most of the socializing that happens there is negative. Now I own a sewing school and have the pleasure of teaching homeschooled kids. They are social, friendly, considerate of each other and most of all intelligent and proud of it. Public schools are dying, and not just because if school violence.

  154. it is absolutely terrifying that we have to worry about sending out children to school for fear of a violent attack.
    I don’t remember ever thinking that something like this was even in the realm of possibility while I was attending elementary school. It’s shocking that so much has changed in such a short time.
    I pray they were empty threats that were made.

  155. Bomb threats in schools, shootings in schools, movie theaters… These are sad and scary times… So sorry you or any of us have to deal with such “horrificness”. I could go on and on about this topic (and have many times in papers for school in recent years and in debates with friends). My thing is this: PARENTING. Paying attention to what your kids are doing, who they hang with, what they watch, listen to, etc. ALL matters! Believe it. I know there are those folks who have to work shift work and those households where both parents have to work, with kids who need supervision, but there ARE resources out there to help raise these kids with morals and the ability to make good judgement calls. The “IT TAKES A VILLAGE” mentality has never been truer, in some cases.

    I agree with the person who said to keep your baby girl home on Thursday. Why risk it? What’s one day? Go have some fun. Share an awesome day in the face of the ugliness that surrounds the school and that situation right now. Hope everything turns out to be all ok.

    Sending virtual hugs and peace.

  156. As a teacher, I have a legitimate fear of something like this happening on our campus…but worse than that, I fear it happening where one of my kids goes to school. It, frankly, scares the living shit out of me. More than once, I’ve gone through in my head, what I would do if we had an active shooter.

    It’s hard to hide…they’ll be caught. Prayers, positive thoughts, and all the ju-ju I can muster is coming your way.

  157. I remember the tornado drills we had in elementary school. I’d have nightmares after every one. School kids have been subject to all kinds of terrifying drills like fire drills, bomb drills (duck and cover!?! Really?) I agree it is heartbreaking that kids have lockdown and active shooter drills, but they are really the equivalent of acts of nature in terms of predictability. Parents should talk to their kiddos every time the school sends notes out with these threats. It will empower the kids to know that they could potentially stop something from happening. We were powerless to prevent tornadoes, but my kids and I talk about what they can do to stop violence at school, bullying, and a whole host of modern issues. If we keep our communication lines open, we can protect our babies, at least in terms of peace of mind.

  158. Each generation has it’s terrors. My parents had nuclear attack drills (like sitting under your desk would do anything). There is always crazy and we have to deal with it. All the kids have to face demons sometimes. Hailey has you as a role model – a brave woman who faces her fears and lives as strongly as she can each day.

  159. I had a bomb threat during my ACTs…. It turns out it was just some jerk kid who wasn’t ready to take the test, so he called in and said he hid bombs in the school. They stopped the test and pulled us all outside, and forbade us to talk about the test. So we just talked about the test, went back in and finished. I am sure this is a hoax too!

  160. By having gun free zones in schools we announce a soft target. I’ve been teaching since the mid 90s. I’d die for my students, but I’d rather protect them. This is Texas! Half of us have been shooting most of our lives. I’m not saying let anyone carry, but if you can get a concealed carry permit (you know the law AND hit what you aim at) why not let willing teachers carry? If there was a good chance a few armed teachers would meet your cowardly attack head on it would be a lot less appealing…

  161. I’m a Geauga County mom. We had just moved the day of the Chardon shooting. I didn’t get the phone call saying my kids were locked down and safe that all the other parents got–they only had my ex’s phone number. To say that was a terrifying day is the understatement of all understatements.

  162. I’m sad that kids have to worry about safety precautions that are scarier than stop, drop and roll. The world has changed. I hope it really is a hoax, although it’s still scary even so.

  163. I’m old enough that we had Cold War bomb drills. That was the 60s, so sadly, kids have been at risk for decades.

    When the Entropy Chicas were in high school there were several bomb scare. There was a lot of “don’t give in, send them anyway .” I ~always~ kept them home on bomb scare days, and never once regretted it. My feeling was that I was almost certain they would be fine in school, but if I was wrong, the consequences could be life threatening.

    I will default to life saving every time.

    P.S. They both went on the graduate from excellent colleges,even with the extra time out of school.

  164. THIS is why I am strongly in favour of home-schooling my kids. And believe you me…I am NOT your traditional home-schooler. Can public schools ensure the safety of my child, from the moment they get on the bus to the moment they get off it? no? Then voila…you’re off the hook.

    Yeah. It’s that simple. And I’m a veteran class room teacher, mother, and now a full-time student.

  165. When I was a kid in the early 60’s we had duck and cover and were issued dog tags. When my mom was a kid they had air raids and black out drills. My own child was in middle school on 9/11. The things we say to the children is what is important. The drills and skills and knowledge empower them with a sense of control over thier own safety. :Life is scary sometimes but knowing what to do helps. It also helps knowing that official types are trying thier best to keep things safe. Hang in there. keeping kids out of the world? You can’t do it forever.

  166. I know it’s not likely to make you feel any better about this, but someone claiming to be a serial killer and also threatening mass violence doesn’t sound legitimate. I don’t think serial killers commit mass violence. That’s what mass murderers do.

    As for what to do on Thursday, isn’t that Take Your Child/Daughter to Work Day? My school district has a teacher work day on Thursday, and I think we’ve done it that way for the past few years so students can go to their parents’ jobs without missing academics. Hailey could stay with you while you work on Thursday, and it probably wouldn’t be as boring as some other parents’ jobs would be for their kids. 🙂

    I hope you and Hailey are able to find the solution that works best for you, and I’m sorry you have to deal with the reality that there are some truly crappy people out there. I’m grateful that there are people like you, though, because even in the face of awfulness you are able to bring hope and laughter to your legion of friends and fans on the internet.

  167. That’s terrible Jenny.
    What a sad world we have come to when these sort of things happen.
    I haven’t had to face that particular issue, but with the increasing danger and selfishness in the world – much more prevalent than in our childhood or in our parents’ day (unless they were born during wartime), one wonders what sort of legacy will be left for our kids when we’re gone.
    In my case it was a deciding factor to stop at one child; that and my current wife has no inclination to have children, and my first marriage ended when my daughter was only a one year old.
    Honestly if I knew the world would be like this I would have had a vasectomy rather than a daughter!
    To live in fear is terrible, but to live in fear for one’s children and their future, that’s a living nightmare!

  168. I work in a childcare center attached to an elementary schoool and in the last year we’ve had a partial lockdown / indoor evacuation to the other side of the building, due to a stand off with police at a house across the street (it ended without shots fired by either party). And a lock in due to a possible bomb in the park on the other side of our school that too thankfuly ended without anyyhing bad happening. I understand why we have drills for this type of thing at my school and I’m thankful we do because I went through my first bomb threat when I was a 3rd grade and we didn’t have a clue what was going on. At least the kids I teach know we have a plan for when bad things happen and their teachers are doing their best to keep them safe.

  169. When I was in high school I worked part time as a receptionist at the local Jewish Community Center, where we would occasionally get bomb threats. As part of my orientation I was told that if I received a bomb threat phone call I was to get the supervisor to call the bomb squad and evacuate the building, keep the caller on the phone as long as possible, and then wait INSIDE the building for the bomb squad to arrive. When I asked why I should not be waiting outside the building I was told “Well, the bomb threats are never real.” Um, so why am evacuating the building?

  170. With the FBI involved, they’ll find the person who sent the messages for sure. To the poster “K” above this reply, I think the scariest thing about all the different circumstances during each of those reasons for safety drills is that the first 3 were drills for threats coming from far away, and the lock downs are drills to save children from themselves. That is really the scariest thing of all. Children with access to weapons and the lack of reasoning enough to use them.

  171. Oh my gosh. You guys need to come live in New Zealand. All we have are earthquake drills where we “stop, cover, hold”. I cant believe your kids have to go through that trauma.

  172. I say let her have the day off so she’s not stressed about this. Make it a fun day for her if you are able to take the day with her. Just my personal opinion.

  173. That is my worst nightmare. Here in Kuwait it’s relatively safe, we’ve never had random acts of violence or shootings (thank God) but i’m always so scared for that “first one”

    Praying for all your childrens’ safety.

  174. A small part of me dies when I hear of school attacks. I am so sorry you all have to go through this. While part of me wants to shout and complain about how things have gotten so bad, and how we never had these issues, it wouldn’t be totally true. Yes, there are probably more student led actions inspired by previous horrific shoots/bombings/stabbings, but I also think we are just a lot more informed on every little thing unlike before.

    Your current school situation rings eerily familiar. When my Mom was in highschool, the Zodiac Killer threatened to take out a school bus full of kids in her school district. They contemplated keeping her home, but opted to drive her to school. He didn’t do it of course, but always better safe than sorry.

    No matter what you decide… Be safe.

  175. I’m in the same school district as you, apparently. My son is in middle school, so I don’t think they sent a note home for him. I’ll have to check with him when “we” get up in a couple of hours. The very first story I read said that they thought they knew who it was that sent the email and that was why they were treating it cautiously but were pretty sure that it wasn’t a credible threat. I cannot find that story now, though.

  176. Sometimes I am afraid, but usually, when I read things like this I just think, “What have we given up in the name of supposed safety?” Violent crimes are down in the U.S, rather significantly, and yet we are more afraid than ever before.

  177. Wow, that’s insanely horrible. The worst thing we had when I was in primary school was the fire drill where we all walked down to the oval and got out of class for half an hour. In high school we had maybe one or two bomb threats but no one took them seriously. In fact (my high school was a girls school) we got to go down to the edge of the school property which bordered on the boys’ school next door. So a fire or bomb drill was basically a free opportunity to chat with/admire the boys playing sport.

    I’m so sorry that kids have to go through such traumas. I live in Australia, which is pretty safe compared to a lot of places, so I’m lucky. No kid deserves to feel afraid, I hope Hailey id okay.

  178. When you think about it, why aren’t classrooms treated like individual apartments in a building? Each should have a fire escape accessible to the outside of the building directly from the room. People shouldn’t have to barricade the doors. They shouldn’t be trapped.

    And, yes. Teachers have so many other job-related issues to worry about — the perils of standardized testing, the constant, board-induced paralysis of creative ways of teaching, etc. It’s sad this is something they have to worry about, on top of everything else.

  179. The newer schools in my area have outside doors now and I believe it is for just that reason. They also wont build any higher than a two story, the front offices that used to be all glass are now walls with a regular door and there is a ring in system to get into the school.

    Its a sad situation that our kids don’t know what its like to truly have freedom. Its sad that we didn’t realize what we had growing up.

  180. Jenny, when I was in elementary, middle, and high school we had to go outside quite often, on the order of once a month or so, because of a bomb scare. Fortunately, it took me a long time to fully comprehend what that meant: that someone hated me so much for going to school with black kids that they wanted me dead.

  181. I once worked at a special needs school. They once had a bomb threat.. no one knew until long after. They frequently ( often, many times) had natural gas leaking in the common area. Once I went up to the director to complain ( again) and she said.. Yes, it seems worse today. They didn’t stop kids with mrsa or c-diff or etc from coming to school. They said these things were naturally occurring in the environment, so? And other parents were not advised of these things so they could decide what to do with their own kids. About 97% of these kids were very low functioning and had no words, so no one at home knew when the a/c broke in July and the kids with medical ( heart etc) issues were left in HOT rooms all day. Or Taken out on Soft) Black colored playgrounds, or any of the other crazy things went on…

    The dangers in our schools are …well, they are just crazy these days.

  182. My dad is on a school board in your town, and at least his district is taking it very seriously–upped protection, etc. That being said, I think (if I still lived there) I would want my baby to stay home. I would still go (teacher here) to try and protect my students if necessary, but my princess would stay with her nana!! And you are right—those drills are scary and no fun at ALL, for kids or teachers. I just pray on the way to my school (near Ft. Hood, if that is any indication of safety) that today, we will be safe.

  183. We live in New Brunswick, Canada, in a little dairy community. My children are now 31 and 29. When they were in middle school and then later in high school we experienced several bomb and violence threats. One of the threats in particular named a specific day that snipers would shoot students and staff from the roof of the school building. I choose to keep my children home that day, as did many other parents. It was very scary and disturbing for all of us. Eventually, the perpetrators were revealed to be some troubled youths who were looking for a thrill and a day off school. The following year when such threats appeared again, the perpetrators were yet another small group of youths. We have to take all threats seriously just in case that some day they are not an excuse for a day off school, but rather a seriously disturbed mind bent on mayhem.

  184. I think we must live in the same district. My girl had the same notice sent home and it is very scary for the kids. We haven’t decided wether or not to go to school tomorrow either, but I’m doubtful we will. Even if it is a hoax.

  185. Oh, hell. I don’t know what to say here. But I have possibly more experience with these things than most people and I don’t tend to talk about it much these days but 20 years ago next month I was 18 and off on a year’s adventure somewhere there are a lot of guns…

    Anyway without any morbid reflection, it’s taken a long time, but here’s what I think now.
    1. Bad things can happen. Anywhere. Anytime. Reducing risk is one thing. Living your life in fear is another.
    2. Every generation is baffled by the one that comes next.
    3. Keep listening. Almost everyone who does bad things reaches out for help before they get there.
    4. There are a whole lot more good people in the world than bad. No matter what you see on the TV. Depend on it.
    5. Tell people you love them. A lot. Every time you leave if you can. You just never know.

  186. Ugh! In this day and age, it should be pretty freaking easy to locate the sender of an email! It’s not a terribly secure form of communication.

  187. i have to admit that there are some days when i drop my son off at school and say “Love you, Bud” that my heart skips a beat. i just want to jump out of the car and take him home. this world – it’s a scary place 🙁

  188. I was in grade school during the Viet Nam War years. We had an ammunition plant within 5 miles of our city, which made our territory a high threat for bombings from opposing forces. As students, we had regular Air Raid Drills in addition to the typical fire & tornado drills. Based on my own experience, kids base their attitudes on adult reactions. While it was a freaky kind of preparation, we were cool with it because the adults around us did not wig out.

    And in high school we had bomb threats every spring Friday afternoon that it was nice out. I’m not lying.

    I am not tech savvy, so I wonder why they can’t trace an e-mail….???

  189. The police haven’t identified who sent the email so I talked with Hailey and she said she’d rather stay home on Thursday, which is nice because I’d rather her be home. I’m sure it’s just a stupid hoax but neither of us will be able to concentrate if she’s at school so she might as well be here.

    As one of you fantastic people mentioned, April 24th happens to be Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and although her school won’t consider that an excused absence I’ll keep her home with me and we’ll write together. And it’ll be good for both of us.

  190. Sad world sometimes. Praying for everyone’s safety. My daughter’s high school was evacuated her 10th grade year. Credible bomb threat. Proud of the school – they managed to evacuate about 2000 people in 30 minutes after securing the campus. Thankfully, she has her own car and was able to take several friends with her off campus to our house. It seems that at least once a month, either my daughter or my son’s school is locked down in some way, from some sort of threat made by a person to an actual bear sighting.

  191. I’m glad she’s staying home. Even if nothing happens (please let nothing happen), the stress of the waiting would be hell on both of you. Her staying home will be good for both, I think.

  192. Sad sad world in which we live. Glad you are keeping her home to write with you. Many hugs to you both.

  193. I don’t know how you educate your children so that they can safely navigate what has become an increasingly violent society and still maintain the innocence that children so desperately need. When I was in grade school we lived less than eight miles from one of the top ten nuclear targets in the country. We were always having “atomic bomb drills.” It was so traumatizing for me that I freaked out every time I heard a siren, and over fifty years later I still occasionally have nuclear nightmares. (Had one just the other night, as a matter of fact.) I am so sorry Hailey has to go through this…no child should, no parent should. Prayers for her, for you, and for everyone in your area!!

  194. Jenny, I just moved out of that school district, but it was all over my facebook page from friends still in the area. Without question, I would keep my kids home. We moved to Colorado of all places, which has me a nervous wreck every time my high schooler leaves for school. They all (my hs and elementary kids) just had lock down drills last week and I wish I had some valium on reserve when I read the emails about the drill. Like you, I am SO thankful that they have the drills, I just wish they didn’t have to. Good luck on whatever you decide to do with your daughter!

  195. I am glad you and your daughter decided to keep her home on Thursday. What a sad commentary of what our society has become.

  196. I remember back in school sports carnival there were always bomb threats because not only was my whole school basically on three ovals, but there were parents there too. I went to a private school here in Australia, and we had some premiers and politicians kids at our school which is one reason it was targeted so often. To this date though, everything has been a hoax. I hope this is the case for your school too <3

  197. The decision whether to keep her home or not is a hard one, and I’m glad that you found a solution together. I have no idea what I would do, but I can imagine I’d rather be safe than sorry. People are so terrible. I hope it’s a prank, but at the same time it’s such a horrible prank. I hope the police find out who sent it soon. <3

  198. In 1982 I was in a classroom with a girl that pulled a gun. Scared the crap outta me. The teacher tried to talk her down but in the end it took the person she was holding hostage (a guy) to take advantage of her not paying attention and he grabbed the gun and wrestled her for it. Several of the guys from the class and the teacher then jumped to action. She got a shot off into a wall but not before all of us filed out of the room. This isn’t a new thing. You are the parent you do what you think is best. Just call her in sick. What are they going to do? Check?

  199. So sorry to hear about this threat and am buoyed by your shout-out to kids to talk to their parents about what they hear from their friends. When I was in school, the students organized a massive, simultaneous toilet flush and sink block that fucked the building’s plumbing and got us the afternoon off. Seems more creative than a death threat. We got those, too, about twice a year in our private Jewish school and those threats were targeted. The excitement never stops.

    Have a great Thursday with your gal!

  200. When I was a kid, we would often look through the news for Current Events projects. Nowadays, it feels like we hide the news from our kids because it is all just too terrifying. This isn’t to say that the events themselves have gotten worse (though, in some cases, they may have), but the presentation is worse. In the past, you might have an exclusive photograph from the scene or maybe a reporter on the fringe of the event talking about what was happening. Now, you have live video as the event unfolds complete with all the horrific gory details.

    My oldest son (10) has Anxiety Disorder. He used to be unable to go to sleep because he was terrified that a Supermassive Black Hole was going to destroy the Earth. (He read about them in an astronomy book and his brain went instant-worst-case-scenario.) There was no reasoning with him during his panic attacks because, in his mind, the Supermassive Black Hole was 100% real and going to happen any second. (I’d bet you wouldn’t be too rational if a Supermassive Black Hole began gobbling up the Earth!)

    Medication has helped ease his anxieties so we have more time to prevent full blown panic attacks, but they still happen from time to time. Moreover, he still gets nervous about things. He was in near-panic over his younger brother having routine surgery recently. I don’t want to think how he’d react if he knew about all of the school shootings. He’d probably be too scared to go into the building at all.

  201. Sorry to hear that you all have to go through this. I was a sophomore in high school when Columbine happened and the next week, OUR school had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat. Very scary. My mother insisted that we stay home the rest of the week. Sad to see that things haven’t changed. BUT! I am sure your daughter will have a hoot and a holler staying home with you. I loved Take Your Daughter To Work Day with my mum. xoxo

  202. You’re funny. You’re thoughtful. You have good ti-MING. Thank you. That is all.

  203. Take Your Daughter To Work Day is an awesome opportunity to make the most of a bad situation! Victor works from home too, right? She could learn a few things about what her dad does too!

  204. As a high school teacher, the scariest drill we have to do is a lock down drill. Number One, that kind of attack just seems more likely to happen at a high school or junior high, because the kids are more emotional and it’s such a tough age. Also, though, because the kids don’t take the drills seriously. If it really happens they will all be Tweeting about it, not realizing that phones glow in the dark and they are making themselves and everyone around them a target.

  205. I’m sorry, this is the part of the parenting life that is not ideal. It is hard to help relatively normal kids understand insane behavior. We have mandatory dinner time at the table together with all devices off for this reason. We do “best & worst” of your day and this seems to help every one think of the things that we should be talking about but some times wouldn’t if I wasn’t asking. This week my 13 yo came home with news of the 5th drug bust in 8th grade in the last three months. She is very confused by why kids do stupid things and there aren’t any really great black and white answers to that. We just keep talking about what to do the right way instead of focusing on the stress these people are causing in the class. She said she was officially freaked out when the cop came in and said to her class “I am tired of this bullshit.”

    I too am tired of this bullshit.

    Hugs to your baby. We watch Doctor Who as well to forget our problems so she is in good hands. 🙂

  206. I remember volunteering at the school the very day it went into lock down. I was delivering a paper and heard sirens and saw the secretary running as fast as she could so she could be in the office when it was called. I shot back into the library, which is where my son was. All the kids sat calmly (they thought it was a drll.) I decided to not tell them and did paper cutting work while sitting on the floor. I figured get some work done and be armed with scissors at the same time, right? Finally the all clear came on and the principal described the situation as calm as possible “suspect on foot in the neighborhood, police officers did a good job and got him.” That is when the teacher and the librarian looked a little stricken, they had thought it was a drill as well.

  207. I’m sorry, this is the part of the parenting life that is not ideal. It is hard to help relatively normal kids understand insane behavior. We have mandatory dinner time at the table together with all devices off for this reason. We do “best & worst” of your day and this seems to help every one think of the things that we should be talking about but some times wouldn’t if I wasn’t asking. This week my 13 yo came home with news of the 5th drug bust in 8th grade in the last three months. She is very confused by why kids do stupid things and there aren’t any really great black and white answers to that. We just keep talking about what to do the right way instead of focusing on the stress these people are causing in the class. She said she was officially freaked out when the cop came in and said to her class “I am tired of this bullshit.”

    I too am tired of this bullshit.

    Hugs to your baby. We watch Doctor Who as well to forget our problems so she is in good hands. 🙂

  208. I work in higher education and my husband works in law enforcement. I used to rationalize the fact that he makes 3x what I make by the fact that he risks his life at work…but after so many school shootings, I’ve had to face facts that I am not any safer at work than he is…And that is a true tragedy.

  209. Columbine happened at the end of my Junior year of high school. I was home from school and in the midst of afternoon TV watching when the news reports started coming in (being on the east coast, my school day was over at 2ish and I was home by the time thing got started in Colorado).

    Strangely, I really only remember one subsequent drill, during the next school year, wherein if the school was evacuated for a reason of that sort, we were to go to the football field. Y’know, where angry people with rifles could easily pick us off. Sigh.

    It’s a scary thing. You can never shield yourself from everybody in the world who wants to hurt people, because they might not even know you YOU are. You might just be there at the time.

    I do hope you have a good work day!

  210. I feel for ya, Jenny. We’re in the same predicament as to whether or not to send our son to school on Thursday. It feels as if the whole thing is purposely being toned down in the media as on Monday it was top news everywhere, but today you have to search for the small one-liner headline to find any information. The school district (well, our son’s school at least) handled it fairly well, putting a note in our son’s take-home folder that was at least taped together. It could have been put into an envelope just as easily so curious eyes wouldn’t be tempted to look at it, but luckily our son didn’t look at it.

    That evening we sat him down and talked with him about the whole thing, what it meant, and what we were going to do. For a 1st grader, he had surprisingly mature questions – (“What happens if it’s one of the teachers?”, “When they find who it was, will they go to jail forever? What happens if they break out of jail?”) We assured him that he would be completely safe, and if they hadn’t figured everything out by Thursday he could stay home.

    Now, with Thursday approaching we’re torn on whether or not to send him. It doesn’t help that the local police, media and school district are all distancing themselves from the whole thing, yet still promising that it will be “perfectly safe” to send our kids to school – oh, and also reminding us that if we do keep our kids home it’s an UNEXCUSED ABSCENCE. We’re going to talk to our so tonight and see how he feels – I predict he will feel uneasy about going as well.

    Too bad it’s not “Take your SON to work day”, as I also work from home and he can sit at the kitchen table surrounded by computer monitors, cursing clients, cursing Oracle, getting distracted by RSS feeds, reading all about the 30 Things You Never Knew About Cheers, checking on your Ingress portals, drinking a lot of Coke Zero, and take a nap after lunch.

    Oh, who am I kidding – we’ll just sit and play Lego Marvel Superheroes on the Wii U all day!

  211. Oddly enough, I can relate to this. I was born in 1956…and my elementary school years had the requisite air raid and nuclear bomb drills (along with earthquake and fire drills; this is Southern California, after all) – to this day, I can dive under a desk with the best of ’em. But the difference is that those drills pertained to outside factors – the Commies, Mother Nature – and here we have sicko kids in. the. same. school. Homegrown, indeed. And their parents need the shit slapped out of them for raising them like that. Put me first in line for that. I’m grateful my daughter is 21 now and never had to go through this.

  212. Sorry you have to deal with this terrifying idea. Some “people” are hideous assholes and (thus should be clearly marked with glitter) but thankfully many more of them talk about doing something than actually do so.

    I hope they catch him, dip him in superglue, roll him in glitter (an updated version of tar and feathers) then lock him in a cage with a big sign that says something about him wanting to hurt children. I’ve heard people like that make lots of friends in prison.

    Hang in there!

  213. Now THAT’S how you make lemonade! Except I like putting some vodka in my lemonade. Which I guess you could still do, as long as your kid isn’t prone to drinking from your glass like mine is (fortunately she thinks alcohol is gross). At least that’s an option for you – my job will be swarming with kids tomorrow and we still won’t be allowed to drink without getting fired. AND I think I have to run an activity or something, which is probably not a good idea because I’ll manage to find some way to make it inappropriate. Hey, you’re an HR refugee: do I get to I keep my job if I was technically following orders?

    Anyway, I’m really sorry someone is being dick and it’s causing anxiety. It happened at my daughter’s school more than once too, and it sucks. They once had to stand outside in the sun for hours while the school was cleared. Of course now she’s 17 and she’s all full of blase’ sighing about how “some assbag made a bomb threat to get out of school. Hope they didn’t just fuck their whole future over a day off.” Which I hope it’s okay to be a little bit proud of, even as it makes me sad that false terrorist threats are now so ubiquitous that most of the time they’re no longer taken seriously. Which I guess has an upside in that it eventually causes fewer panic attacks, but jeez. What a world.

  214. We’re in the same school district. I guess I’m a naturally anxious person, so everyday sending my kid off unnerves me a little. I hate this shit. We are hooky-ing it up on Thursday no doubt.

  215. I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. I remember having bomb threats when I was in High School in the late 80’s. Back then it was all just a big joke to us, now everything is too real! On a positive note going downtown to the parade is lots of fun (I use to work downtown). There is lots to do and lots of questionable food to eat!

  216. At the beginning of the school year, I finally had a kindergartener. And then one of the busses in our squeaky-clean upper-middle-class neighborhood got the back window shot out by some psycho near the road. I hate that they have to learn to do in horrible situations, but that was an eye opener for me that they really do NEED those lessons.

  217. I remember having to have drills for a nuclear attack when I was in elementary school. That was scary as Red Dawn had just come out, and it was such a big deal, there were warnings about letting your kids watch it. My mother-in Law was the assistant superintendent for Jefferson County schools when Columbine happened, it put her into early retirement, it was so stressful. This is our reality, but communication, and training are essential. Talk to your parents, and talk to your kids, always…

  218. Probably a good thing you are going the whole less alcohol route. Sobriety often speeds up I CAN’T DO THIS. Then you will have even MORE time photograph the cats, do a little stress eating & maybe dress up a taxidermied treasure. I’m sure that awesome little girl of yours will have some meme ideas.

  219. I totally agree that we all should talk with our kids about what they hear. We have had many threats to all our local schools since 12/14. Lockdowns are very common. It is hard on the kids as they already know what can happen. I will never forget that phone call “all schools are on lockdown”. Our world will never be the same and praying this never happens again.

  220. At least let her drink soda or juice out of a martini or wine glass.
    It should be as real as possible for her. swirling martini

  221. Soooo… I got a few thoughts.

    I also hate that you had to write this, that I had to read this, & that I have to talk to my kid about it. It sucks that this is the reality that we live in.

    Also, because I like Jesus (no pressure to like him, I just think he’s rad) this makes me really want to be all like “bring on Armageddon & let’s go hang out in heaven & eat chocolate for eternity!” (Pretty sure chocolate cakes & truffles are healthy in heaven & I would way prefer to eat my weight in those than have to worry about some preteen freaking out & bombing my kids’ school because no paid attention to the fact that he needed some legit help.)

    Lastly, my girl crush for you just got a little realer because you said “Doctor Who.” Fuck. Yeah.

  222. I’m sorry you and your community are going through this. My kids’ elementary school does these kinds of drills, too, and I’m both glad they do it and so mad/sad/frustrated that we live in a world that needs these drills. I wish nothing but safety for all involved.

    As for taking her to work with you, I didn’t want my kids to watch me bang my head against my MacBook for 6 hours straight thinking of Just The Right WORD, so I’m sending them off with my husband.

  223. Hooray for take your kid to work day !
    I hope everything turns out well, that ths is just a hoax, and that they find and punish the creep or creeps behind that email.

  224. I’d love to say that someday, the threats to our most vulnerable will be behind us. That we live in a society that respects life. That our culture values people above things. I’d love to say that.

    I hope they find this prankster and that he really is a prankster. And not a planner.

    Stay safe.

  225. Why can’t life just be kinda miserable like it was when I was in school a hundred years ago instead of miserably miserable like it is now for kids?

    But…I think I remember my mom saying the very same thing when I was in school compared to when she was in school. Apparently, some things never change after all.

    They just get a little worse.

  226. This post makes me both sad and relieved. It makes me sad that we live in a world where our kids have to worry about this happening and yet relieved for my children that they don’t have this to deal with her in the UK. The only incident like this happened years ago in Scotland and still this is remembered today. Our children live in a very sheltered world in our part of the country but it saddens and sickens me that you don’t Jenny.
    Enjoy your day with Hailey and try to put this such individual where they belong, out of your heads.
    Sending you all love. Amy

    1. It’s awesome you didn’t make the decision for her and instead discussed what she wanted to do (which many parents wouldn’t do)
    2. Perfect solution is absolutely f’ing perfect.
  227. My two daughters were at the high school where a kid who’d been suspended came in and shot and killed the assistant principal who’d done it (Omaha, Nebraska). I’ve never been more scared in my life. Fortunately, there was a plan in place and the church next door helped in every way they could, including giving up their activity night and handing out the food to us parents. It was only because both girls had phones and could text me that I could keep my skin on. Many other parents were in far worse shape that I was.

    Then about a month ago, some joker tweeted a threat to shoot up the school. It rattled everyone to the core and was swiftly dealt with. Anyone who retweeted or mentioned it on social media was suspended. Oddly enough, I was more worried I’d have trouble picking my middle child up for a doctor’s appointment than if it was real.

    It’s definitely a different world we live in now, for sure.

  228. I need a simple like button. I have nothing to add but I love what you wrote. And I love that you are keeping her home and enjoying her.

  229. I’m glad you and Hailey came to a decision together. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time making sweet memories out of a bad situation, which might be the definition of “great mom.” Or of “great human.” Also, your description of what it’s like to be a writer is emancipating. Just what I needed. Thank you!

  230. Okay. I hate to be the one to attempt to bring a little sanity and perspective to a really nice mass freak-out but let’s everyone try to get a grip. To all the people wailing about how this world is a horrible place and woe to the poor children, can we take off the crazy goggles for just a minute and recognize that in this and all other civilized countries on the planet, children are currently enjoying the safest and most prosperous time in all of human civilization with the lowest infant/childhood mortality rate since the dawn of human existence. Children today enjoy the safest existence they have EVER known since the dawn of time. Yes, random isolated accidents and scary events can happen and the advent of 24 hour news cycle that repeat and glorify every tragedy known to man can make it seem like the world is just one big craphole for kids, but let’s get real here. Children used to die in droves, up to 2/3rds of kids never made it to the age of 14!! Our children are coddled, cherished, protected and privileged and enjoy UNPRECEDENTED SAFETY in these times. Have a glass of wine and drink in some perspective.

  231. I’m so sorry that you had this experience in parenting. Another Reader mentioned that their child’s school had called the parents and emailed them rather than sending a letter home. Perhaps your daughter’s school can do that instead, since some kids will open those letters and share them with (and scare) their peers.

    However, I think you handled it wonderfully by having a discussion with her and coming to the decision together.

    It’s sad that we live in a world where children have to have drills for man-created events: nuclear bombs, terrorist threats, bomb lock-downs, shooters on the premises, etc. Or that our children even have to worry about what they have to do to survive an attack. Or that they, and the teachers/staff who work with them, even have to learn these kinds of drills. It is such a different world now than it was when we grew up. (It’s good to be prepared, although it is heart-wrenching that this even has to be done.)

    Sending lots of love to you and Hailey. I’m sure that she will enjoy the day home with her Mama.

  232. I’m glad you talk with your daughter to help make the decision. I don’t have kids, but I was one, and now I’m grown up I realised that asking my thoughts as a kid was important.
    Speaking of when I was a kid. I was in the air cadets in the UK. We had a bomb planted under our tour bus from some Irish sector against british armed foces. We were on the bus about to drive away for weekend war games when the call came in for us to get the FUCK OFF THE BUS NOW!.. I was 14 years old. I was really confused as what did us kids do to get this, I wasn’t mad, I was confused. Then I realized I could of died and my parents wouldn’t of been there and they would of been sad and mad. What my parents would of felt hurt me deeply and the confusion was huge. It was hard to deal with. My sharing about killing, and being a kid.

  233. You are so right. I’m going to talk to my kids tonight. Lately in Arkansas, at least once a week a school in our area has received some sort of threat of violence. I know that kids are eager for summer and some of the threats have been found to be hoaxes just to get out of school. Nothing terrible has happened so far. It’s very scary and I hate that this is even a “thing.” And I did not realize until I read this post that I have discussed this with friends, on facebook, with my husband…but have not talked to my kids about it. So thanks.

  234. My three year old gets lockdown drills. It is a profoundly upsetting thing. I hope Hailey enjoys Take Your Daughter To NOWHERE! HAH! I Work From Home, Bitches! Day.

  235. I hate the lock down drills too, but my kindergartener thinks they are a fun game. She brags about how her class did it perfectly, and remained completely quiet until the principal said the “Magic Word” over the intercom. My reaction was (i) it’s so awful that kids have to practice this, (ii) they did a super job! and (iii) so THAT’S how you get a class of kindergarteners to stay quiet for more than three seconds.

    We also have armed guards posted in all the schools, which I hate even more than the lock down drills.

  236. I live in New Zealand. Our kids have earthquake drills – that’s it! Sorry you have to go through this xxx

  237. Forgot to mention that when I was in high school, at the height of the Cold War, the awful made-for-tv movie “The Day After” was required viewing for all students. It’s about the aftermath of a nuclear war, set in small town Kansas. Did I mention I went to high school in small town Kansas? The entire town had nightmares for weeks after that. (And we could see the nuclear missile silos just on the outskirts of town. . .)

  238. You have my dream job. What I wouldn’t give to spend the better part of my day rewriting the same paragraph over and over. I guess I need to get that first book out there. (if only I had time to write it between my day job and the demands of life)

    Also, I remember when there was a bomb threat at my school. I really didn’t like it because cops always made me nervous. I felt like they always looked down on the high schoolers, like they just expected us to cause trouble. Anyway, I was not excited for the possibility of a bomb threat or having my bag searched by cops. (That’s my stuff!). I was, however, very happy to stay home from school. As such, I didn’t go. Nothing happened. No bombs were found. Nothing ever came of it.

  239. I live in the same area. Reminds me of hiding under our desks incase of aircraft bombing… not sure how a desk was gonna help… Take care of your baby girl, stay home!!

  240. I am a teacher and we just had a lockdown drill today. They are, of course, not announced ahead of time, but they do announce that it is a drill when they come over the intercom. Even though I know it is a drill, it makes me nervous every time. I would do anything in my power to protect my students in the event of danger, but I am always concerned that my efforts would not be enough. I was relieved that the students took it seriously (I teach middle school), and it gave all of us the opportunity to reflect on safety procedures, etc. Very necessary, but I wish it weren’t.

  241. That is a fucked up situation.
    I think taking her and showing her how a real writer works, but with less booze, will be great for her and you. Now, if you can just keep Hunter S. Tomcat off the catnip….

  242. How did I just find you now? Maybe because I’ve been living under a metaphorical rock. It’s like a real rock, but not as heavy.
    I don’t live in the US, so these situations seem so surreal to me. It must be very very tough to be young in this day and age. All I had to contend with was how wide I could get my combat pants.
    Anyways, I know this comment will get lost in a sea of comments but your blog might just be the beard to my Tom Cruise.

  243. Sounds like the very best of days on thursday! Enjoy hailey and the writing experience, et al.

  244. I feel for you and her, but I also feel for the teachers who will have to go anyway.

  245. What a shame that children, even as young as five, are aware that there are people out there who want to harm them and will shoot them and their peers. I had a few five year olds ask me the other day what we would all do if “a guy came in our park district with a gun”…when I was five (fifteen years ago) I never thought of someone coming into my school with a gun. And their question had a deeper meaning – not just a guy with a gun, but a guy with a gun with the intention to kill them. Five year old children have the thought in their head that someone with a gun might kill them. And I, the adult that is to protect them from bruises and paper cuts, felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t think of that until I was maybe in junior high. I have never been a fan of guns and I don’t believe they are necessary for civilians, but stories like this that involve children who know about mass shooters…you can’t help but ask people who are so extremely pro-gun, why? These stories show what guns are doing to our society and that we need to vamp up our mental health knowledge and available help.

  246. The day of the Columbine shootings, my mom dropped me off at school and asked if kids were allowed in and out through the side doors at the school. She thought it was a little strange and seemed insecure. Four hours later I was running from the gunmen out of that same door.

    I wish people had listened to the threats (even though they weren’t all so obvious), and I wish I, and all of my friends and classmates and teachers, could have stayed home that day.

    The more we allow kids to be open with us without skepticism or judgement, the more they’ll share. And that’s a very, very good thing.

    (By the way, I suspect that you felt weird last week because April is the worst month ever and it just wants to punish everyone who is done with winter and looking forward to spring).

  247. The other day while working at my local park district, a few five year olds asked me, “What would we do if a guy with a gun came to the classroom?” My stomach dropped. When I was five, fifteen years ago, I never thought about guns or being killed. We didn’t practice lock down drills. This question asked by my group of five year olds had a deeper meaning to me. It wasn’t just a guy with a gun…it was a guy with a gun with the intention to mass shoot us. And I, the adult that is to keep them from getting bruises and paper cuts, was sick to my stomach. These five year old children have the thought in their head, may it be a tiny thought or a consuming one, that someone could mass shoot a group of kids. I have never been a fan of guns and I don’t believe they are necessary for civilians. And with stories such as this, I have to ask extremely pro-gun individuals, why? Why is your weapon so important? Why is owning an assault weapon a necessity? Our society is changing for the worse with the increase in gun popularity and gun violence and our mental health system needs to be vamped up. We must be knowledgeable and ready to provide help to anyone who needs it.

  248. I’m a grad student at Auburn Unicersity. Last week, our classes were cancelled for Wednesday, 4/16 (7th anniversary of VT), because someone wrote on the bathroom wall that they would “unleash a rampage of biblical proportions on this tiny campus.” I know, unfortunately, that school was only cancelled because of the circulation on social media and the subsequent anxiety. They had apparently been investigating the threat for 3 weeks, but most didn’t know until late on 4/15. Then, yesterday, someone wrote a bomb threat on the bathroom wall in the main class building, which was evacuated for a few hours. The first threat made my skin crawl, but I had a feeling nothing would come of it; I planned to skip class, though, just in case. The second one hardly ruffled me, already desensitized to the “drama” from last week. How horrible is it that we can become desensitized to threats on our life?? I was in grade school during Columbine and just considering the last 18 years and how the fear of this has grown exponentially. I never had a bomb/terrorism drill in school. I think once we had a real bomb threat in HS and they took us to the stadium (because that’s a safe place, ya know, for all 2500 students to be.) I can’t imagine being 6-10 and doing drills for that. Fire drills, etc., used to scare me, but the difference between a (semi-)natural disaster and terrorism committed by another person just makes me go numb. All my positive energy to you guys.

  249. I work for the district that the emails were sent to, and also have children who attend school in the district. The “school teacher” part of me knows that the schools are taking the threat seriously, that it is most likely a hoax, and that my kids and I will be safe tomorrow. The “mom” part of me is not so sure…

  250. The company I work for monitors student emails for districts across the US. When I first started, I thought it was going to be all cyberbullying and guns and bomb threats. I suppose I should be happy that those are so few and far between, but the self harm and the depression and the suicidal thoughts are heart breaking. At least we can tell ourselves that we make a difference, that’s something that happens every week without fail. Now if we could teach the school children of America that public has a very important ‘L’in it that should never be left out…

  251. Love your update, very funny. See, sometimes we make the right decisions without even knowing it. Have fun tomorrow and hope you have some good quality time!! You could always try homeschooling too, but that’s JMO! 🙂

  252. It is so sad that we have to explain these things to our children. I was pregnant with my third when the attack on NYC happened… on a military installation where we received phone calls telling us to get out of the housing areas… you know, just in case. It was (I later found out) because we were right under the flight path for KCI airport. I was terrified and yet I grew up not too far from Crane (where they stored VX for years) and was well used to ‘attack’ drills, earthquake drills, tornado drills…
    I have no real advice, just that I decided to talk to all my kids — 9, 12, 15, and 17 about realities: war happens and people die (including people we know, who held them and played with them), depression is REAL and sucks hardcore, but help is there and suicide is not the answer ((this one after one of my oldest child’s friends committed suicide last fall)), natural disasters happen and- we can deal with them by planning ((okay, so I may have used Zombie Apocalypse preparedness for this))… and so on. For years, I was berated for being so damn honest with them, but you know what- I am now saying ‘SEE, I was right!’.

  253. I wish the idiot in SA that wanted to enjoy the hangover that they were planning to have from partying too hard at NIOSA on Wednesday night so they wouldn’t have to take their kid to school on Thursday would’ve just not taken their kid to school on Thursday and let the rest of us go on about our business… I mean, really. We already get Friday off for the Battle Of Flowers parade. Geez.

  254. I guess that person who wanted to over-indulge at NIOSA tonight (or at the Spurs game) just didn’t want to drag their hung-over ass out of bed to take their child to school on Thursday? Give me a break. It’s not like the whole city does t have Friday off anyway… (Don’t get me wrong – I love Fiesta and have participated every year since I was little, but this is a little scary)

  255. Adding my voice to the many who think this is awful but truly necessary. I’m an elementary school teacher, it’s the worst trying to explain to a bunch of kindergartners why we need to practice hiding in the closet. Last year a few days after Sandy Hook, there was a false alarm at the high school in our district (across the street from my building). I spent a few terrifying minutes calmly considering, “I could die today.” It still boggles me that this is becoming our normal.

  256. Can I come to work with you on Thursday too? That sounds like a lot more fun than my work is going to be.

    Scary about the threat. I hate that children are growing up in a world where this is something they have to worry about. I try to be honest with my kids to the extent necessary, but my anxious little acorns take after me and worry more than I would like them to. I think I would have done the same thing and given my kids a choice.

  257. Living in Boston and working in healthcare, I have a new appreciation for drills. Last year’s marathon bombing had so many survivors because of drills. The hospitals practiced what they’d do in the event of a horrific event, and they were ready for it.
    I discuss drills with my 3 girls as a way to feel confident and prepared. We can do drills to handle any danger: fire, bees, bad guys, or baby sisters who want to eat favorite stickers. I think a school drill is a great time to talk about what our kids are afraid of, and then devise a plan to manage the “danger” and do drills to practice.

    I would be upset about my kids hearing the news from other kids instead of me. How you present the info makes all of the difference in matters like this. It’s easier to prevent fear than undo fear.

    Kudos for following your daughter’s lead. She wouldn’t learn much at school that day anyway. Enjoy your time together!

  258. I hate that my grandchildren will grow up with “active shooter” drills. I grew up with “nuclear attack” drills, and I know how that scarred my psyche.

  259. Jenny which school is it? I live off Bitters and there are two schools right down the street. Ive read the news alerts about thursday but they all just seem to mention NEISD. Do they know if its a certain school or if it could be any school in NEISD?

    (They aren’t saying. I believe the emails were all sent to NISD though. ~ Jenny)

  260. You and I are about the same age. I think we were lucky to be raised in the era between the cold war duck and cover drills and today’s lock down drills. My daughter (turns 9 in about two weeks) has casually mentioned her school’s lock down drills. For some reason these don’t seem to scare her, but she gets pretty anxious about the tornado drills.

    Oddly, I remember having a great deal of anxiety about tuberculosis when I was a child. I blame the somewhat outdated set of encyclopedias we had, which listed this as America’s biggest killer. I think they had this in hand in the early ’80s, but nowadays drug resistant strains threaten to make this scary again

  261. It is terrible that so many people have made these drills a necessity!!! The one thing that made me smile in here besides the description of the Take Your Daughter to Work Day, was that she said when they give up on the paragraph they will watch Doctor Who!!

  262. Yes. Praying for y’all’s school district, and you and Hailey.

    Also, yes to the writing bit, because here it is early in the morning. And I just had to get something out of my head.

    Peace over you and the rest of Texas.

  263. Wow! I live in rural England & I can’t even get my head around that this kind of thing happens to you guys never mind those poor kids having practice drills….Like Jackie commented earlier, we too grew up with “nuclear attack drills” yep, even here! For a while, they used the old air raid sirens as flood warnings in some parts & the sound of them just makes my blood run cold. Yay for the Take you daughter to work day though! Have you ever considered home schooling Hayley? – Probably spelt her name wrong but I tried to scroll to the top of the post to check & it gave me a headache…. 🙂

  264. I had a classmate in high school who did a bomb threat while we were visiting our old middle school. He gave the police my name as his alibi and I believed him innocent. Until I found out the time and place of the call. It was made from the payphone outside the boys’ restroom, the only five minutes I wasn’t with him. His motivation is still completely inexplicable to me. How could he do that? Why? I don’t think I will ever understand it.

    Thank you for encouraging parents to talk with their kids about this. False reports are pointless but so harmful to sensitive, thoughtful kids. Much worse than a harmless prank. I hope your little girl feels better about it soon. Or at least feels somewhat safe and secure.

    While our parents had to suffer through “Duck and Cover” drills during the Cold War, at least their Big Bad was a foreign power far away. There is something even more horrifying about the message to this generation with Lock Down drills. That tells kids that the danger is someone in their community. It could even be the kid sitting next to them. That is a total mind fuck. Especially when we want to teach kids to love and care for each other.

  265. My daighter just started kindergarden last September. I had no idea they had the lockdown drill, I only new about the fire drill. One day (begginning of the school year) she came home and started to tell me that they closed all the doors, turn off the lights and were hidding in closets and bathroom (in the classroom) and the teacher was telling them to be very quite. She was saying that a man was walking around and trying to get in the room but the door was closed. At this point my heart was about to stop and meanwhile I kept asking her question about the details when finally I figured it out it was a drill. It was a horrible feeling not knowing they had this drill and just thinking it could happen any day. My heart is still broken over the Sandy Hook shooting so this was just topping it. I hope nothing will happen in your daughter’s school and they will figure it out who wrote those e-mail and punish the person. School should be a safe environment.

  266. Holy cow. That’s crazy. I can’t believe this is the kind of world we live it. I hope it is just a stupid prank, but that’s not funny. On another note I did love (& totally relate to laboring over the same paragraph all day until finally screaming, “I can’t do this! Nobody can do this!”

  267. Unfortunately, Jenny, we can’t shield our children from the myriad of horrors this world’s shadows contain.
    But we can certainly try.
    God bless you and yours, jenny Lawson.

  268. As a Kindergarten teacher and parent to an 18 month old, I hear you. We hate lockdown drills too; its so hard to explain to the little ones. I would keep her home too. Enjoy plenty of cuddles and cookies today. <3

  269. It isn’t fair. And it sucks. No one should have to live with that kinda shit hanging over their heads much less the children. I wonder how humanity got so fucked up that it has come to this, and if it is even possible to fix it. My heart goes out to you Jenny, and to your family, and to your community, as it does to everyone who has to endure these things. I am glad Hailey decided to stay home too.

    On the other hand, my son was accused of saying he was going to come in and shoot up the school. I got to come in and speak with the Dean. Then we added my son to the discussion. He told me he never said anything remotely close to that. I believe him. The Dean wanted to know if we had a gun in the house. Is that really any of his business?? I wanted to know who accused him. Oh. Well, that kid gets to stay under the radar. My kid is under the microscope for no reason. I applaud the school for dealing what could very well be a real threat however I still wonder if the accuser faced any diciplinary action. False alligations are damaging too. Everyone knew my son was accused while no one knew who did the accusing. Very frustrating for me.

    Update: My son did not shoot up the school. He finished all 4 years of honors classes taking college credit courses his senior year and graduated with high A honors. He is just finishing his junior year at DePaul University. I wonder how the other kid fared?

  270. It is really scary hearing these types of things especially when your kid is involved. There has been so many scares and actual tragic things like this that have happened at schools and you can never trust if it is true or not. I think you did the right thing by keeping her home that day. It not only made you feel better, but it also probably made her feel a lot better as well! Hopefully that is the end of threats to your daughter’s school!

  271. How on earth are they not able to trace the email? Yikes. It’s someone mildly savvy if the FBI really can’t figure that out. Keeping her home was a good idea, just for the sake of the anxiety you would have felt all day… It makes me angry that anyone has the ability to just interject themselves in our lives and force us to feel fear. Luckily we have our own weapons as well– people, community, and of course: humor.

  272. The company I work for monitors student emails for districts across the US. When I first started, I thought it was going to be all cyberbullying and guns and bomb threats. I suppose I should be happy that those are so few and far between, but the self harm and the depression and the suicidal thoughts are heart breaking. At least we can tell ourselves that we make a difference, that’s something that happens every week without fail. Now if we could teach the school children of America that public has a very important ‘L’in it that should never be left out…

  273. Whoops. Should have scrolled to the update rather than to the bottom of the page. Hope Hailey is learning a lot about being a writer today!

  274. Thinking of you and Hailey today. I hope you are having a fantastic mom/daughter day today and that everyone is safe.

  275. I’m focusing on the positive aspect of today’s blog: I’m qualified to be a writer! Bonus points for a plausible explanation for my chronic fatigue. Hugs to your daughter, and best wishes for a wonderful kids-to-work day.

  276. My 2 boys are in the NISD school district, the one the threats were aimed at. I brought them to work with me today. The school district said that all absences today will be unexcused. Um…don’t care on this one folks. My babies want to feel safe, and want them to be safe.

    Hope you had a fun day with your girl!

  277. I hope that you and your daughter had a great day at “take your daughter to work day!” I work in a college in Canada. We have lockdown drills for the staff because the students already know what to do! How crazy is that? Take care.

  278. OMG that is so scary! What type of sick and twisted person does something like that? At least you are able to turn the whole experience into a positive for you and your daughter.

  279. Jenny, my friend who is a teacher at NISD said that nothing happened today but she only had 14 out of 24 kids show up for class so you were not the only one who decided (or Hailey decided) to keep their child from school today. We even had an Emergency drill at SAC today. I’ve lived in S.A all my life and I remember cold war drills and tornado drills but those were never as scary as these.

  280. Jenny, I talked to a friend of mine who teaches 5th grade in NISD. She said nothing went out except that only 14 out of 24 of her students showed up so you were not the only parent who decided to keep their child out. We even had a “emergency drill” at SAC this morning. I grew up here in S.A, I remember the cold war drills and the tornado drills, but they were never scary to me. This kind of thing though must be terrifying for parents.

  281. I was so sad to read this, and so sad you had to write it. I live in Australia and our kids are oblivious to threats like these. In saying that, they are also unprepared. I hope it really was just a kid wanting a day off school and no real threat to anyone. xx

  282. First, wow indeed about experiencing that with your child – I can’t imagine anything more terrifying for either of you. What a strange world we’re living in. And I love that you asked her about whether she wanted to stay home or not – how respectful and considerate of her feelings.

    Second, I didn’t know other people thought “I can’t do this” either. Good grief, I think I spend more time writing that sentence than I do any other one! My next (and first) book should probably be called, “I can’t do this… but oh look, I just did anyway.” I’ll let you know when it’s published… (I can’t do this)

  283. Hoping your Tuhrsday at work with Hailey was a good one, in spite of the terrible need for it. My daughter’s school just had their lock down drill and her science teacher said ” you can throw anything you want at an intruder, except the turtles. They are NOT Ninja turtles!” Love teachers who can infuse humor into an otherwise scary or tense situation!

  284. That’s my old school district! I am so sorry that Hailey is having to go through this. School is the one place (other than home) where kids should feel safe. I hope they catch the mofo that did it but it sounds like it was just a sick prank.

    I thought of taking my daughter to work on Thursday but I work from home so that would just mean she’d be watching TV and I’d be yelling at her to turn it down while I’m on the phone. Actually, that just sounds like a normal afternoon around here.

  285. I’m 14 and go to a public school, well a while back a high school student thought it’d be fun to shove their old science project in a box and label it “BOMB. DO NOT OPEN” And of course the school had to take cautions because, well you never know. So everyone was called out of school and they had to get far away from the school as possible in the freezing rain. Now this was after school so there weren’t that many kids there, but everyone was still a little scared since they didn’t know if it was real or not. I don’t understand how people even find this stuff remotely funny. I mean why don’t they just read a good book or go watch British television! Or even better if you’re bored, homework that needs to be done. Although when kids are bored with nothing to do, homework is not an option. In that case they should go watch anime or something.

  286. I meant to ask earlier, what is Fiesta Friday? I think this is something we definitely need in Canada!

  287. My 10 yr old son had been secretly bringing his cell phone to school. I thought for playing games on it. He cried and told me he was worried a bad guy was going to get in there, like other news stories. Broke my fucking heart.
    I think these feelings you’re having are bc there’s SO many selfish, hateful weirdos in the News & it’s draining to be around that knowledge. Ughhh. But we can’t let the bastards win.

  288. I work for a company that does security plans for schools, and it is horrible that my job has to exist. I literally have to walk into schools and think of all the horrible things that might happen so we can prepare the teachers and staff. I don’t have kids (I’m only 25) but some days I worry about the type of world my kids will be brought into if my hubbs and I do decide to have kids.

  289. My babies stayed home. I couldn’t worry about them while I was at school, focusing on protecting my precious students should anything happen. I was amazed at the outpouring of community support….I think there were more adults at school than kids. Whatevs, it was a lovely four day weekend for many kids.

  290. Judith, Fiesta is a two week long celebration in our city. the last Friday is a local holiday for the event, Battle of Flowers. April is a wonderful time in South Texas!

  291. It is sad that the very place we hope our children will feel safe sometimes leaves them feeling less than so. This post resonated with me because this past week I received an email on my phone from my kid’s school with the heading “School Lockdown.” After reading the first few sentences in a panic, I realized it was meant to notify parents about an upcoming drill. I quickly emailed the principal back and said in future, he should rethink his subject line and the way he communicates sensitive issues to parents!

  292. As scary as it is, it’s good they are taking it so seriously. Back when I was in middle school, right after the tragedy at Columbine, there were similar threats being made at my school. There was a supposed shooter, a day when the shooting would take place, and a hit list. No letters were sent home, no one even talked about it. A kid came up to me, told me he knew the shooter, and I was on his list. I was terrified, went straight to the administrators, told them what happened and they sent me back to class. They didn’t even ask the name of the student who spoke to me. Needless to say nothing happened, but I certainly didn’t go to school that day. My little sister’s elementary school class was going to the zoo for a field trip, my mom was chaperoning and decided to take me along to help her out. Alls well that ends well, but I remember my 11 year old self thinking it was crazy that no one was doing anything about the threats.

  293. My senior year of high school was the year of “Columbine”. To me, a mother of a 3 year old and an 11 month old, it means that I will never be able to send them to school without the fear that they might not come home. When I was growing up and going to school the biggest fear I had was getting snatched on my walk to school. It wasn’t the kind of fear that kept me home from school. My husband and I have seriously considered home schooling our children when the time comes because we live in such a different world now. It’s sad that someone should ever be afraid of school.

  294. This is what I had posted last week on FB. Why aren’t we marching in the streets screaming at our representatives to end ‘guns everywhere’ and find ways to change how we handle mentally challenged people. Oh, and getting rid of violent video games that many of these shooters have watched over and over again. We must stop accepting this as ‘normal’…..

    Dear friends and family,

    I attended a mandatory active shooter presentation today at my school…by the Pima County Sherriff…. so we will be prepared… must talk about and prepare the kiddos, too…. everywhere we go we are supposed to have a plan in place… similar to living in CA preparing for earthquakes…. run, fight, distract… don’t just sit…. We saw pictures of shooters and victims at schools. It was hard and brought back many memories. My school is where Christina Taylor Green attended (killed at the Gabby Gifford shooting).

    The state of Georgia (at least not AZ this time…. YET) just passed the “guns everywhere” law today! CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS, TOO…. ‘what a great day to affirm our liberties’, just announced by an older white-haired man in GA (the governor). At our presentation, someone asked about teachers having guns in class and they explained the teacher may be killed by the police thinking he/she is the shooter.


  295. I used to be afraid of guns. Then a crazy lady threatened to kill me because I bought the house she was renting, and to top it off, I refused to let her live there after I bought it. Bad me, bad, bad, me. Even though she somehow obtained my email address & sent some really threatening shit to me, the law said there was nothing they could do.
    So I bought a gun & took lessons on how to use it.
    She never came after me, though one morning a really nasty man with bad intentions did try to grab me. I pulled the gun on him & he peed his pants. Then he ran away.
    I have many guns now & all my children know how to shoot them. They can clean & repair them if needed also.
    As for those mom’s in Ireland, look closer at violent crime, not just gun crime.
    Some interesting facts there….

  296. Shit like this makes me TERRIFIED. And it’s even scarier when the voices tell me that I should be the one causing it. If you want me I’ll be under the bed.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: