life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bomb threat!

Back when Jen was in 6th grade, in her first year of middle school, I went to a PTA meeting. The principal was there to talk about a lot of things. He said:

"Years ago, if I saw 'I'm going to blow up the school' written on the bathroom wall, I'd call the custodian. Now I have to call the police. They come with their bomb-sniffing dogs, but all they ever find is some pot in the 8th graders' lockers."

In this post Columbine, post Sandy Hook world, you have to take these threats seriously, even though most of the threats are not real.

I live in a district with two high schools. My alma mater is High School East. Jen and Becca are alums of High School West.

East made the news again last week.

Wednesday night, there were two emails, one to the school district and the other to the police. The author threatened to blow up East on Thursday morning.

The cops came to school. They searched. There was an evacuation drill. They investigated.

Nothing.

The marking period was supposed to end Friday. School officials decided to extend it to Monday, and move all tests and quizzes to Monday, just to be safe. All after school programs were cancelled, and both high schools were locked up at 6 PM.

Thursday night the district got another email, threatening an event on Friday.

The panic that ensued among the parents ....

"Should I send my child to school?"

"Why aren't the school administrators telling us more about what's happening?"

"Do you know that you can walk into the building at night without security challenging you for ID?"

"I want to know everything the police know about this!"

You can well understand, it's been kind of tense around here this year. A few weeks ago there was an incident in the parking lot at East, an altercation after a football game where one young man stabbed another.

Last week a middle school student brought shotgun shells to school. (Yes, the school where Jen works.). At least it wasn't the gun itself!

And two weeks ago there was a bomb threat at West. It raised some concerns, but didn't become a media event -- rumor is that the threat was made during a conversation on Twitter, the kid who made the threat was quickly identified, it was just talk.

When Becca was a senior, there was a bomb threat at West. Some kid wrote a threat on another student's scientific calculator, and left it in a classroom for a teacher to find. It was all a big joke -- but Becca and a lot of her classmates stayed home from school.

This seems different, it was a real attempt to disrupt the workings of the school.

I'm sure the author of those emails is laughing, enjoying how he has manipulated an entire school district.

The ones who really plan to do harm, they don't usually telegraph their plans.

A 16 year old boy, a high school sophomore, was arrested in Maryland last week. Cops were investigating him in connection with some burglaries -- someone was breaking into parked cars and stealing anything of value. Turns out the kid also stole his father's gun, and brought it to school on a Friday with the intent to shoot classmates. He didn't go through with it because he was too drunk, and because he "forgot to bring the bombs" he allegedly made. He was planning to bring the gun back on Monday, but the cops caught him over the weekend.

Don't get all wrapped up in the drama, but take every threat seriously.

Here's hoping this week will be more peaceful.


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