Beheading Threats Shouldn't Keep Kids Home From School

Elementary school students in three counties in Rhode Island were threatened in a letter Tuesday, which was received by Johnston police. The handwritten letter was sent through the mail, and Col. Steven McCarthy from Warwick said that it contained threats involving "beheading."

As a precautionary measure, armed officers were put in every single school in Johnston, Cranston, and Warwick on Wednesday, to remain until at least Friday, covering the three days threatened by the sicko who warned police that he or she may try to behead someone at a school.


Even with the cops on campuses throughout the threatened districts, many parents opted to keep their children home. School officials in Cranston reported that about one-third of students were absent on Wednesday.

One mom, Laurie Audino, said, "As a parent it still makes me a little bit nervous and I feel more comfortable with my kids in my own presence until they can figure this out at least."

Those that opted to keep their kids home certainly had the sympathy of many others around the country, including blogger Meredith Bland, who wrote, "Is this a plausible threat? Unlikely. Someone who was actually planning on committing this assault probably wouldn't send a letter to the police department giving them a heads-up about it. This is some idiot who wanted to have the power to cause entire cities to react to their words and create some drama in their small, pathetic life. I know all of that. But I will be rational and reasonable while watching My Little Pony at home with my babies."

She also went on to say that she understood the other side too, not letting crazy people get in the way of our lives, and that our kids are likely more than safe, given the police presence. She even threw in how unfair it is for parents who have no way to make the decision themselves, like in households where having a mom or dad stay home from work is not an option.

So it got me thinking about whether or not I would keep my kids home from school if such a scenario arose in our area. While it would be nice to call in sick beheading threat to work and snuggle with my kids, I think it really does provide an awesome opportunity to teach them not only to respect law enforcement, but also to not let bullies stand in their way.

Some moms said they didn't want to have to explain to their kids about the threats against them, as they explained why policemen were on campus. We all struggle with how much reality to introduce to our kids at what age, but in elementary school, what's wrong with teaching them that they're safe when being protected by a cop?

They don't need to know all the details. Why not just tell them that there are some people out there that might try to be mean to them, and the officers are there to stop those people from bullying? 

I'm not talking about sending them into a hostage situation -- I'm just talking about cases like this, where the threat is minimal, safety precautions are set in place, and there is armed law enforcement there to take down any potential machete-wielding psychos.

It's just not worth keeping them home, in my opinion.

Would you keep your kids home if this were your town?


Image via Elizabeth Albert/Flickr

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