If you were here last Friday, you might have noticed an unusual amount of absences among the student body. Whether as a teacher you had to deal with near-empty classrooms, or as a student with the temptation to leave, it can be said that both scenarios are probably not ones conducive to learning and for the school environment. So, this begs the questions 1) why did this happen? and 2) what can we do to prevent it.
To answer the former, it was because of one of the many threats Bedford High School has received over its entire existence. Although there are rumors and uncertainties of the specifics of the threat (a conversation on a bus, an Ouija board, and a video game) the ultimate result was that the school was threatened with a violence of some sorts. The administration took consideration of this threat the moment they were alerted of it, and deemed that it was not credible, and thus safe for students to attend school. Yet despite this, there was a mass exodus of students leaving the building, and an abundance of parents calling and picking up their children to remove them from the school premises.
Personally, I think this panic despite the school’s assurance of their children’s safety is because of the devastating tragedies that have been seen in the news as of late. Whether you think of Parkland or all the way back to Columbine, it seems like violence in school has increased, and this has caused a premature panic in both students and their parents. While you can never be too safe, and I understand parents’ wish to bring their kids home, I also think it is a fair point to say that the Bedford community should have more trust in the administration when they assure safety in such a serious situation. This kind of trust is integral in avoiding any kind of miscommunications, which only leads to needless panic.
This also leads into answering the second question, of how this can be prevented from happening again. Although we all love having unexpected days off, it is no doubt frustrating for teachers who only have a limited amount of classroom days before a cumulative AP or IB exam when this precious time is sacrificed. And so I find that, again, the parents of students need to trust in the administration when they deem such a serious threat non-credible. If an official statement is sent out, it can be assumed that it really is true, even if it might go against protective parental instincts. However, it is still your right to pull your children out of school whenever you want; just consider the effects this may have on the administration and tireless AP and IB teachers.