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Old 01-04-2008, 07:52 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
285 posts, read 780,109 times
Reputation: 234

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Just throwing out a situation:

What would be the best reaction and next steps for a school to take if a child with a history of violent behavior, 11 years old, told a group of classmates that he hoped to get a gun for Christmas and bring it back to school to shoot them?

This is a child who also threatened to break a female classmate's jaw recently.

The principal gave the child one day suspension, and told concerned parents that this child was simply not a threat, that there are two groups in the class, the cool group, and the not so cool group, and that he falls into the "cool" group, and was just trying to be "cool".

I feel as though more could have and should have been done. The principal and teacher collaborated and said that their "gut feeling" was that there was not a substantial threat. I am not about throwing kids to the wolves, I think that the response needs to be two fold, discipline is one component, but threat assessment and prevention of future violence is key. What should the district do to lessen the odds of a tragedy? What would be the typical response in your districts?

There is something very wrong in a school district when a child gets punished more severely for a dress code violation than a gun threat.

Thoughts?

Last edited by pegmomof4; 01-04-2008 at 07:52 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
3,808 posts, read 5,646,040 times
Reputation: 4613
I agree that the situation as you present it deserves a more thorough and serious response. However, there may be more happening behind the scenes than the principal is willing to share with the general public. If there isn't, contact your school board - this istoo serious to go by gut feelings.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:58 AM
 
Location: In the sticks of Illinois
499 posts, read 1,019,181 times
Reputation: 162
Smile Unite

This IS a serious and very real scary situation.

First of all, imo, that child should be searched for 3 weeks, every day that he/she walks in the building head to toe.

Second, since it was said and threatened towards the school, then the school counselor should be a BIG part of this childs' healing process. It may even involve removing the child from his home.

It sounds like this child feels alienated by his peers. Do you know if this is true?

I taught my child to try and be friends with everyone. This is one reason why. They don't have to be best friends or go over to each others houses, but at school it is best to keep them with in arms reach. That way, they are in the know. Sometimes it can be avoided by an other child telling. As long as they have privileges to the info..

Do you know this childs parents? Does this child have a bad home life? I'm wondering if he just needs some attention and someone to listen to him and possibly give him some good family value guidance.

Have your children offer him some candy. Maybe he just wants to feel like he is counted. IF your children could teach the rest of them to try and include this kid in things then maybe that might work for eveybody. It is kids like that one that we want to stay in touch with mentally. They tend to avoid hurting someone who has been nice to them.

My heart goes out to your children and the already wounded child.

This is so scary for everyone involved. Have you rallyed any parents about this? I think if you all pitched in to let this kid know that he does count, then you all will know that you've done your part and may even save a whole lot of lives. Remember, your children learn from you and your actions. Tell them to put their hand out to shake and ask him to be friends.

I have a very humble 17 year old who would take this upon himself to see to it that this kid gets what he needs from his peers and educators. My child can not stand to see another child in lonely pain. There are plenty of us to go around. Is this childs family poor too? If everyone pitches in and gets him some decent clothes might be a good start. It would be worth my childs life and any others.

No, I am not saying to reward a bad child, but the healing process has to start somewhere.

I would however, call the police station and find out if there are guns and firearms license in that kids home. You are definately right for not just blowing this off.

just a few ideas


LIVE LAUGH AND LEARN
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:01 AM
Status: "aaaand I'm gone again :)" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,868 posts, read 12,843,557 times
Reputation: 4952
That there is any debate over heavier punishment (paddling, suspension) in elementary or junior high school just baffles me when I read crap like this. Parents need to get a clue and stop acting like their children are the end all, be all princesses and princes of their neighborhoods just because they themselves weren't homecoming queen or Prom King. These kids are the future of this country, and we are the example being set. If we place our kids on these high pedestals so that they are untouchable by any reasonable authority figure, why would they ever think otherwise? It is no wonder they think they can get away with threats like this.

Absolutely unacceptable.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:01 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
285 posts, read 780,109 times
Reputation: 234
I think what is so odd about this school's response is the lack of attention to this threat.
Had a child presented in this same school with a lit or a louse, this child's head would have been picked through for weeks by the teacher and school nurse, and every parent in the class would have gotten a written warning about the dangerous bug in the room.
I think a gun threat deserves more attention than lice. The immediate response on the part of the school should have been to see if he has access to a weapon, and yes, checking him to make sure he did not bring one to school would have been prudent.
Just my two cents.
I also maintain that there is something very wrong in the discipline process when a dress code violation can get a child in more trouble than a gun threat. That is a school board and policy issue, and one that needs to be addressed.
I like UNITE's post about helping this child, and agree that needs to be a component of this, but the safety of the children in the class needs to come first, and that piece should be addressed before we heal this child of all that ails him.
Two distinct actions need to come out of this, discipline and prevention. The school has not demonstrated an ability to do either, and it is really risky when a principal bases her decision to blow off a threat based on her "gut" feelings.
I am a nurse, and compare threats in some ways to a patient complaining of chest pain. Some patients look more ill than others, and in my "gut", it is more clear that one patient is more at risk for having a big heart attack than another. It is not my job to guess which patient is really having the big one, all patients get the cardiac workup, and either rule in or rule out as having a heart attack. There are always surprises, and while I sometimes can predict or have a strong gut feeling as to what is going on, I am often wrong and very surprised at test results.
Schools have a professional duty to take all threats seriously, and err on the side of caution, and have a process in place to assess these threats, a principal's "gut" is not the sole factor in this process. Our children depend on it, and safety is such a component of a school climate.
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Old 01-06-2008, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Obama playing field
716 posts, read 1,389,352 times
Reputation: 362
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Feebs View Post
That there is any debate over heavier punishment (paddling, suspension) in elementary or junior high school just baffles me when I read crap like this. Parents need to get a clue and stop acting like their children are the end all, be all princesses and princes of their neighborhoods just because they themselves weren't homecoming queen or Prom King. These kids are the future of this country, and we are the example being set. If we place our kids on these high pedestals so that they are untouchable by any reasonable authority figure, why would they ever think otherwise? It is no wonder they think they can get away with threats like this.

Absolutely unacceptable.
Agreed..

It is, that SIMPLE!!
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
16,249 posts, read 11,635,808 times
Reputation: 3587
The child should have been expelled when he hit the girl in the jaw so if it were me running the school, this never would have been an issue.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
3,808 posts, read 5,646,040 times
Reputation: 4613
The hitting in the jaw was a threat rather than a real assault, but when warning signs like that threat are available, there will be hell to pay for the school when an assault actually does happen.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Florida
278 posts, read 618,286 times
Reputation: 153
I may be way off base, but as long as sites like 'You Tube' continue to play and glorify videos of teens fighting...I'm not sure that we aren't fighting a losing battle...no pun intended.

As the wise poster above stated...these kids have no respect for authority because there is no fear of repercussion. We are a society who quit spanking our children, enabled them to emancipate themselves, never taught them the value of a hard days physical work, and gave them everything they wanted. We have no control. The school system has no control. And now many of these kids are out of control. There is no one in their life who is 'bigger' than they are.
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
87 posts, read 12,387 times
Reputation: 24
Exclamation Kids with guns in schools?

Why is this discussion focusing on bad kids with guns? What about the bad gun owners who leave firearms around the house? No kid will ever take a gun to school if it is equipped with a trigger lock and kept separate from ammunition in a locked container.

Last edited by ggjacobsen; 01-08-2008 at 12:24 PM.. Reason: add heading
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