What would you do if your fifth grader was pulled from school for making a “terroristic threat” in gym class?
That’s the question posed on Reddit today, from a parent of an 11-year-old who allegedly shouted “I wish we could mass murder these boys” in a boy vs girls game in gym class. The girl, who has ADHD and a 504 plan in place, is now apparently being sent to an alternative school because she made what her school considers a terrorist threat. According to her parents, she heard the phrase on the news and thought it was “masked murder.” So…now what?
Some people were helpful:
Some people were…not that helpful:
Some empathized with their own stories:
Other people suggested they GTFO of Texas:
And this person summed it all up nicely with:
But seriously – what do the parents do in this situation? Their daughter was most likely just trash talking and throwing around words she doesn’t totally understand. It seems incredibly unsupportive of the school just to kick her out and shuffle her around to a new school. And let’s say, hypothetically, that this 5th grader IS planning a mass murder. Is sending her to a new school going to do anything to stop her from committing violence? Does that really solve anything? I get moving her if the alternative school is better suited to her needs as a student with ADHD, but that decision should be made with the parents’ involvement, right? RIGHT?
A follow up from the girl’s parents only paints a more frustrating picture:
So the child is bright, prone to outbursts, has no history of violence and nothing on file about expulsions or going to a different school. And yet.
This one situation speaks to a larger problem here in America – gun violence in schools IS a real issue, and yet we’ve taken no large-scale action to curb it. Gun laws are still lax and we have no real understanding or plan in place for treating citizens with mental illness. While it seems clear the school is overreacting, you also can’t blame them. When considering the worst-case scenario to come of this girl’s threat, their knee-jerk reaction is understandable. Awful, but understandable.
Kids say dumb stuff; they often don’t understand the implications of their words. That’s the difference between this girl and adults who get arrested after making throwaway comments about bombs on planes. Adults should know better, while kids should be allowed some leeway to learn about the power of their words. Unfortunately, in America, that’s no longer possible.