Readers — What’s interesting about this lockdown story, which took place at Wharton High School in Tampa, FL, Â after a student reported hearing something or other about a gun, is not just that kids were locked in their classrooms for seven hours. It’s not just that one kid admitted (on camera!) that he ended up peeing in a bottle. It’s not even that in the end, a girl said she was grateful to the school for “keeping us safe” — from a threat that never materialized.
No, what’s interesting is that I have no idea how we can stop this from occurring with more and more frequency. How can any school administrator NOT take drastic action if he or she hears about a potential threat on campus? On the other hand, treating every rumor or even mis-heard remark as a red alert seems completely over the top. It not only disrupts school, it creates the impression to kids, parents and the community that children live under the constant threat of death. Which, despite isolated cases of madness, they don’t.
It’s those isolated cases, however, that are just like kidnapping stories. They are so shocking — and generate so much media (this articleÂ muses on that) — that they reverberate in our souls and rewire our worries. Regaining perspective is not only hard, it is sometimes impossible or illegal, after laws get changed and liability rules get re-written. So: I’d like to hear your thoughts on how to keep us from turning schools into the next TSA-type territory, where everyone is considered a suspect, and no inconvenience is considered too onerous, “for safety’s sake.” – L.
FOX 13 News