Verbal Threat

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bella84, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    What would you expect your admin to do if you pass along information that a student shared with you regarding a physical threat that one of their extended family members made in which the family member stated he would "beat the crap out of" you or a colleague?

    Should the admin do anything to investigate the threat? Should it be taken seriously? Or should it be assumed to be a meaningless overreaction? Should the admin do anything more than document it?
     
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  3. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I would probably ask the P to call the parent and share what the student shared and get their reaction but if the person isn't the parent, I'm not sure how much authority the P has. I guess my wonder is why you want your admin to investigate rather than having a conversation with your admin about your plans to call the police? Why not ask the P to call the police with you? If the person is an adult (and not the parent) to me it would make more sense for the police to investigate.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I had that thought in my mind, but I also wondered if I was overreacting... which is why I came here to get opinions.
     
  5. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    After I posted Bella I added one sentence to say perhaps have the P call the parent. But I don't think there is any way to know if the student is just making it up or if the person said it in the way people say "I could kill her" or if they meant it. I think the only organization that can actually figure that out is the police. I would expect the police to just start with a conversation with the family, so that would seem like a reasonable next step.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Always just made a great point. How it was said by the person makes a big difference. I've forgotten the age you teach, that would also make a difference.

    I certainly would mention it to your P in an e-mail (documentation in case P doesn't document it).
     
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  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm certain that the student wasn't making it up... He shared enough detail that is seemed legitimate. It was the student's uncle who made the threat, and the student's mother told the student not to talk about it at school (according to the student). But, of course, impulsive elementary-aged kids often talk about things their parents tell them not to.

    Although the threat wasn't made in jest - the uncle was definitely mad at my colleague and me, I really do think that the threat is probably "nothing", but something in the back of my mind tells me that I should be dissatisfied with simple documentation of the issue.
     
  8. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I guess my question would be what is the uncle mad about and how does this relate to school? From that, I'd have to decide if I felt something needed to be done about it. It I felt it was nothing I might just leave it be. If I felt like I needed to address it, I'd go back to the P and say, I'm not feeling safe and I think we need to phone the police.
     
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    My colleague shared an article related to a current political/racial issue in social studies class - the whole taking a knee issue. The student has now independently decided that he will take a knee during the pledge every morning. I don't say anything to him when he does it. So, therefore, I allow it. His uncle was in the military and is angry with my colleague for sharing the article. He also feels that I should not "allow" it in my classroom. He is now angry with me and wants to beat the crap out of my colleague.
     
  10. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    So bella, I really feel this is up to you to decide. Only you can know if you feel unsafe. I think it is quite reasonable for your P to document it and leave it as is based on the information you have provided.

    However, if you feel unsafe, it is reasonable for you to communicate to your P that you want more done. I don't see how calling the parent would help and if the uncle isn't a parent, the P has no jurisdiction, so if you feel unsafe, I would ask the P to call the police with you.

    If your P won't call the police, you can call the police yourself, but I think it is always best to try to communicate first. So if you talk to your P and they won't make the call, then you can call but you'll have done what you can to maintain the relationship.
     
  11. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    No, I don't really feel unsafe. I just think that you really never know with threats these days... I feel like going to the police is a little extreme. I just also feel like a simple shrug of the shoulders and documentation isn't quite enough either. I don't know what the in-between would be, but it seems like there should be something. Maybe it'd be different if I hadn't had parent after parent literally just walk into my classroom during the school day, completely unannounced. Our security procedures could certainly use some tightening up, and, even with no threat, it doesn't seem like safety is a top concern of the admin. I guess I was hoping that they might show some concern or something.

    Anyway, I just wanted to gather some other thoughts and opinions here to gain some perspective. That's all. I don't see myself actually doing anything more than I did this morning, which was simply report the threat to the principals.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    That's pretty much all you can do. I'm also not sure what the P can do about it with out a potential fire storm arising.

    If you think about it, using controversial "current events" in the classroom at the elementary level isn't necessarily the best choice. It is too hot of an issue. Now you have a child (or more) taking a knee in school, an angry military uncle who knows what "schools are teaching these days", and a principal calling home to talk about a threat made against his teachers by a relative of a student because now the school is allowing the student to disrespect the flag (in his opinion). Seems to me it could open up a huge on-sided to the press storm that he doesn't want to escalate.
     
  13. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Personally, I don't disagree with you, but I also don't teach social studies and don't know how or if it related to the curriculum. I just happen to be the student's homeroom teacher. I will say that my school district is very liberal and social justice-oriented. Our school board even put out a public statement against hate last school year. It's very likely that sharing controversial current events such as this one fit neatly into our district's curriculum... But, not my area, and I tend to shy away from involving myself in things that have little to nothing to do with me. I only got involved in this because I didn't tell the kid he had to stand up. Honestly, every time I glance at the kids who take a knee, I chuckle to myself a little bit because they really don't fully get it. The whole time they are taking a knee, they're also putting their hand on their hearts and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Again, I'm not a social studies teacher, so I don't get involved. I just let them make the choice they make.
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Thanks for sharing the feedback though. I guess I was just worried that I was maybe underreacting by not thinking it was a big deal initially... and then, the more I thought about it, I wondered if I was overreacting by thinking that the admins should have shown a little more concern than they did. Oh well... I'm just going to accept the documentation and move on at this point. Hopefully there won't be any more to it.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Feb 12, 2018

    My thoughts will be with you.
     
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