Archive for Friday, May 29, 1998

THREATS AND LUNACY

May 29, 1998

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McLouth people acted in what they considered the best interests of youngsters. Now it should be made quite clear no further aberrations of such a nature will be tolerated.

Talk about a case where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, look at the McLouth school board decision to end the academic year three days early for fear of violence.

There was a rumor that an irate pupil planned some type of violence with a firearm. Officials had no concrete evidence that such a plan existed, but there wasn't enough time to be sure. Considering the tragedies that have accrued from young malcontents and misfits in other schools across the nation, McLouth opted for what seemed to be the safest route.

The first impression of many observers is the old bit about ``the lunatics running the asylum.'' The siutation being what it is anymore, there are bound to be some students who delight in doing anything to disrupt school, even if they have no intention of causing harm. But if there is a real ``lunatic'' in the mix, school officials have to be careful. They have seen how bad things can get and they don't want a recurrence in McLouth.

Oddly, just recently a middle school in the nearby Shawnee Heights district also had to alter programs drastically because of similar rumors. An event scheduled for the evening was changed to an afternoon and security was heightened.

If anyone thinks he, she or they is indulging in a prank, they need to be shown there is nothing funny about their antics and that foolishness of this nature won't be laughed off any more than airline security people laugh off passenger remarks about bombs or guns. We're looking at something horribly serious here, and neither adults nor youngsters should be allowed to brush it off.

There are those who will contend that McLouth acted in haste and that it played into the hands of whoever decided to create the rumor of a threat to life and limb. But put yourself in the position of a school board member elected to do what is best for most in so many categories. Law enforcement people cannot pin down a rumor. Do you gamble with young lives, and those of teachers, or buy time to find out more by closing school early? It seems fairly obvious how most citizens would act.

Now let us hope that officials can trace the rumor or threat to the source or sources and make bad examples of the guilty parties. Such behavior is, indeed, a form of lunacy and it should be made quite clear that McLouth and every other school system intends to take back the asylum from the would-be lunatics.

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