Thursday, February 28, 2008

I don't know what to do.
The schools in our area all have rumors of threats for tomorrow. Local police, et. cetera have checked it out, and feel there is no cause for alarm/concern, and with some extra precautions, school should, and will go on as usual. My 11 year old son however is either terrified, or pretending to be so, because he wants to stay home "Don't you care if I live or die?!!". Either way I know if I try and make him go, he will work himself up into a frantic crying frenzy on the way to school, resulting in us both being frazzled and nervous.

I asked my sister-in-law what she would do (she lives several states away and her school is not effected), she said if it was happening at her kid's school, for high school, she would probably keep the kids home, but for younger kids, she thought she would send them, but that I should go with my instincts.

I think it will be fine tomorrow, nothing is going to happen, HOWEVER that does not mean I feel at all comfortable with sending him.

I then called my mom, Cheese's grandmother, she said I should not send him. "Why take the risk? So what if you keep him home and nothing goes wrong at school? What is the harm in that? They keep them home, and are cautious if there is any chance of bad weather, what is different about keeping him safe from this sort of threat? Besides I know you, you will be a nervous wreck all day if you send him."

So I don't know. I agree with his school's website, that this is whisper down the alley, rumor stuff, spun out of control, and I do not want to give sway to it, give power to those who are spinning it, HOWEVER if I was my son, I would be scared, and if my mom made me go to school anyway, I would be nervous all day, and feel like no one really cared about me, only about attendance, and trying to prove a point with business as usual, at my expense.

Bob and I discussed it, and think it would probably be best to keep him home, out of concern for his emotional and psychological well being. Some kids would be fine going, some kids would understand about rumors and all that, but Cheese, Cheese always goes around asking us if we have opened this or that package of food, or opened the jelly jar, or the milk, because he is concerned that the seal is broken and that he might be poisoned. Darker specks of brown in the peanut butter also raise fear of poison (and no talking to him about how this is not a realistic fear, has any effect). This is a child who wont ride his bike, he considers it a safety hazard. He has asked for a stationary bike, I said "you can use the treadmill", he said "you can fall off a treadmill". He is afraid to talk to teachers. He is addicted to using hand sanitizer (washing his hands and showering. Again we can't put any reasoning in his reasons). I don't think it would be good to send this particular child to school today. Bob and I did decide that it can't just be a total day off, so Cheese had to empty the dishwasher and wash the dishes, and later he will need to clean his room. And we might go to the library (I have books that need to go back), even though Cheese does not like to leave the house when he has off from school.


kyklops said...

I guess it's a bit late to ask about the basis for this warning and if you sent Cheese or not.
It may (or may not) surprise you, Taff, that most people outside the US don't have to deal with these kinds of vague warnings from the government, police, etc.
"The world can be a scary place" is all the message I need.
Hope Cheese is OK...

Taffiny said...


It was rumors, as far as I can tell started from graffiti, then there was some tie to the internet and myspace, and something to do with gangs. Each school district in our area had a slightly different rumor going on for today. Something about rebellion day, leap day, some about bombs, some about a drive-by shooting during a fire drill. Mostly words with no point of origin found. Everyone heard it from "someone else" who heard it from "someone else who knows someone who knows someone who knows..".

Thanks for asking. I kept him home. I wasn't worried about him physically but emotionally. I just hope the school doesn't give me a hard time about this. Some school districts said kids could stay home, some said the kids had to go to school. Our school said school is in session, and normal attendance policy is in place.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

I was going to ask what all this was about until I read your response to Kyklops. But now I want to ask, is this kind of thing "normal/usual"? Does it happen a lot?

It worries me that children grow up with the message, "the world is a scary place" - I grew up like that, fed on a diet of my mother's fear, it did me no end of damage which has taken me years to unravel.

Please find a way to make the world safer for Cheese - because as I have learned as an adult, we can and do create our own safety, despite the insanity out there - but we have to be empowered and be given the tools to do so.

Taffiny said...


No, it isn't common in our school district (Thank God), this is the first time anything like this has come up. There is a neighboring school distict though, that gets bomb threats periodically, and so we see scenes on the the news of the kids having to evacuate the building for an hour or so, while it is searched. I believe it is assumed that some student (s) are actually responsible, and that these are hoaxs, meant to disrupt the shool day. But all threats must be taken seriously and investigated.

I don't let Cheese watch the news. I shield him from such information as much as I can. The current rumor was being spread among the student body, and on Thursday they had the teachers address their classes about it, to reassure the kids of their safety, but in Cheese's mind that legitimized the rumors.

I am trying, I admit I tend to be guarded in the world, which is not of help to him. He also seems to be naturally reluctant, and to have his own fears, which Bob and I spend time trying to convince him aren't worth being concerned about, but I can't say we ever succeed. I don't think he is afraid of the world as a scary place though, his fears are smaller things, like inch worms, and germs (his hands start to crack in winter from all the washing), and riding a bike. And the big intimate one, death. I was shocked to find at 5 years old he was already concerned about dying.

Bob was talking (to me) about burial plots the other day, and I bid him hush. Bob said that I shouldn't be afraid of life. I said I am not, I am afraid of death. He said you will always be afraid to live your life until you are no longer afraid of dying. I know he is right, I just don't yet know how to be at peace, with forever being at peace. I mention this here, because I believe it is part of us creating our own sense of safety in our lives, but I as I said I am not there yet. I do not know how to give what I do not possess, but I do try. (I do believe that most people are good, and hope and stive for the same things for their lives and those they love. And I tell Cheese that).

Thank you, Vanilla.

Akasha Savage said...

I think you should always go with your instincts. If you had sent Cheese to school, both you and he would have been on edge all day. As a mum myself, I think I would have done the same as you. Children are precious things. I try to avoid any danger to mine as much as I possibly can...even if it means others see me as a molly-coddling parent. My daughter, although fourteen, still hates using the underground trains in London after the bombings we had there a couple of years back, so we avoid them as much as humanly possible. I don't think you can be too carefully where kids lifes are concerned. :)

Minx said...

I send the kids off in the morning knowing that they are safe for the day. I'm not sure how I would react if this right was taken away.

Taffiny said...


Thanks for sharing, it makes me feel better to know you would have done the same. :)

I wasn't so much afraid for his physical safety, but his emotional sense of well being.

It is hard though isn't it? On the one hand, we don't wish to encourage fear, but at the same time, we don't want to force them to do something they are uncomfortable and fearful of doing, escpecially at their ages. It is hard enough facing such things when older, but I could not imagine having to deal with such fears that they now do, because they know that these sorts of things have happened. I mean we hope and pray no more bombs will go off, no more kids will be shot, on trains or in schools, but we can't promise them that, we can't tell them it wont happen. When I was their ages, I had no idea anything like that could ever happen.


Sounds wonderful. And mostly I do feel he is safe. But since Sept. 11th and Columbine (high school kid's shooting other kids at school), and other school incidents (mostly high school and colleges), that sense of knowing they are safe in school is no longer what it was. It used to be a given, no question or uncertainty attached to it, now it is an act of faith each day. I tell myself he is safe, I choose to believe he is safe, but it is not a solid thing, not a deep belief, it is something I put on and wear, because I need to believe it, and it should be true, and it is most likely true. There is the peace of believing, rather than the peace of knowing.