Empty threats ruin school day for present students

Andrea Hefferan | Staff Writer

On Friday, April 20, no one came to school. Well, almost no one. A couple of brave souls risked their lives by going, myself included. Thankfully for me, the threats that were graffitied on a high school bathroom never came to be. The person shouting threats on the school bus never came through either. Maybe it was because the people who did it got caught and the only danger was a bunch of empty words.

There are two ways to approach a problem like this. One: go about the day as normal with increased security to ease the minds of overly paranoid students. And then there’s the second option: letting two students completely mess with the schedule and learning of countless individuals by cancelling the school day. Now, the second choice is admittedly more cowardly, but as they say, better be safe than sorry. But instead of these perfectly understandable options, the school decided to go halfway, putting the decision into the hands of the parents to avoid responsibility for what happens.

This plan totally backfired. The people who got the most out of this were the students who just wanted a day off, and with a little theatrics to their parents, managed to make that happen. 

While the offenders were caught, the people who paid for their actions are the ones who realized that these threats are just that, threats. Not actions. The ones who went to school knowing there is extra security and that despite the excused absence, it is still a school day. They are the ones who are punished, having a day where they cannot learn anything because of the number of their peers that were not present.

 Social media was definitely a huge factor in this widespread panic that swept the district. Parents first found out about the threats on Facebook, and if not for that, it would have just been another school day. I agree that parents have the right to be worried about their children. However, in these circumstances, deciding to keep their students at home is a little over-the-top. 

The district said they gave us excused absences to make us feel safe. But I sure did not feel safe walking in the empty halls, or having a table to myself, or being in a class with only five other people. And this fear was not caused by some student yelling ‘Parkland 2.0’. It was brought about by the administration who excused the absences and the students who decided to act upon it.

If people are frightened about this issue, then imagine what another situation like this could do. Students will start getting the wrong idea. If I write a threat on a wall, will I get an excused absence day, in other words, a day off? 

Even if we skipped out that day just to get a few more hours of sleep, the message we send to these people is that they win. It may just be a day off for you, but for the people who are hoping to scare us, it is another victory.