There was an article on the cover of USA Today this morning about the power of text messaging in spreading rumors about potential school violence. Apparently in the past several months many schools have seen wide spread absenteeism after students had used text messages to spread warnings about potential campus shooters, bomb threats and the like.
As the article states, in nine out of ten times, these threats are unfounded but do you really want to take the chance of being that tenth one? Schools are trying to respond rapidly when they learn of these texting waves by holding assemblies and sending automated phone messages to parents to assure them of the school’s safety. But once these text messages take off it’s hard to control and schools are seeing, at times, two-thirds of their student body absent on a particular day in which violence has been threatened. The article quoted a security expert who noted that "Mom finds out about it faster than the superintendent, the school board or even the building principal."
While this can be a problem I’m not sure it really bothers me. Unfortunately we have seen too many times where a school has not acted quickly enough when they have learned of a planned attack. As a Mom I want to be the one to make the decision whether to send my child to school if there is a threat of violence. In this day and age with so many campus shootings it’s difficult to predict what will happen. Too often we hear friends of a gunman say that they had heard rumors something was going to happen. While we can’t live in a state of fear or overreact, I want to be the one to decide what I think is credible and whether I feel it’s safe for my child to go to school.
How do you feel? Do you think the wave of texting is helping moms or causing hysteria? What would you do if you learned of a threat that has occurred at your child’s school?