Maize News by Play newsmagazine

Send all the threats you want. I’ll be at school.

In the midst of several threats, this is why I'm still coming to school.

Following+a+k-9+search%2C+multiple+students+were+suspended+due+to+unknown+causes.
Following a k-9 search, multiple students were suspended due to unknown causes.

Following a k-9 search, multiple students were suspended due to unknown causes.

Following a k-9 search, multiple students were suspended due to unknown causes.

Casey Loving, Reporter

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We’ve all heard the stories. There was something written on a bathroom stall. Somebody got an anonymous text saying they’ll be the first one shot. Everything was made up. Another attack is planned. Things have been taken care. Things haven’t been taken care of.

Regardless of which one you’ve heard, each of these stories has one common piece of information: somebody is coming to school tomorrow, March 16, with malicious intentions.

The rumors of this threat have been almost anyone can talk about here the past few days. Whether people are talking about how they’re fake or people are talking about how they’re real, people are talking about them.

Understandably, the threat has caused students, parents and staff alike to worry about how safe it will be to come to school tomorrow. If the people I’ve talked to are of any indication, roughly 25 percent will be absent Friday, whether it’s because of the threat, spring break or something else.

If you were at school Wednesday, you might’ve seen me participating in the national walk out. If you were at school today, you might’ve seen my personal column in the newsmag about why I think stricter gun control is a necessity. If you’re at school tomorrow, you can see me going about my business as usual.

I understand why everyone is worried about coming to school. Believe me, I do. And if you were to ask me if I was scared about what might happen tomorrow, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was concerned. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stay home.

Let’s not kid ourselves. The person, or people, who started these rumors is more than likely driven by attention. Whether he, she or they want a day off of school, they want to scare people they dislike or they took a page from the Joker’s book and want to cause chaos, they wouldn’t have started this situation if they didn’t want people to talk. And, to be fair, they’ve already succeeded on that front.

If you know me at all, you know that I can be pretty stubborn. I don’t like bullies. I don’t let people kick me around without saying something about it. If I see something that I disagree with or that I think is wrong, I usually don’t just shut up about it.

If I were to stay home tomorrow, it would go against nearly everything I believe in. It would be showing these glorified bullies that I took their bait. That any time a boy cries wolf, I’ll go running. That I can let guns, the very things I wrote about wanting to regulate, scare me into submission.

I’ve been pretty vocal about not believing the threats. If you’ve asked my opinion on the matter in the past week, I’ve probably told you that I think they’re fake. If I believed every story I heard from somebody hiding behind a phone or computer, I would owe a lot of money to a Persian prince. It doesn’t take much for somebody to say that they saw something on a bathroom stall.

The most concerning thing I’ve heard regarding the shooting is that a student received an anonymous text message saying she would be the first one shot tomorrow. This is obviously a very serious threat, and one that should cause us all to be a little more cautious.

If this student were to say that she weren’t coming to school tomorrow, I don’t know that any sane person could blame her. Still, I don’t know that I would be able to stand it if I were to let that mean that I didn’t come to school. The staff is looking into this threat and doing everything it can to make sure we’re safe tomorrow. For me, that’s about as much as I could ask for in this situation.     

I think the school has done an excellent job handling these threats and making me feel just about as safe as I can. I have hardly gone a day since I heard the rumor without hearing somebody bash on our staff for not handling this problem better, but I honestly don’t know what else they could’ve done to deal with this situation.

Immediately after hearing about the threat, the proper authorities were informed so they could investigate. Upon investigating, they traced the rumors of a threat on a bathroom stall back to a student who admitting to making the whole thing up. Still, the school took the information seriously, increasing security and sending an email to parents. Finally, our administration personally went to every classroom yesterday informing students of the situation and offering a $100 reward to anyone who can name the culprit of the continued threats.

I don’t know what else people want the school to do. People are upset that they didn’t hear about it a week ago, but if the principal got on the announcements every time he heard somebody say they wanted to shoot up the school, the speakers would be broken. They tried to deal with the situation quietly ahead of time, and when things still weren’t looking good days before the rumored incident, they told parents and students alike what was going on. Frankly, if you go to school here and you hadn’t heard about the threats before Wednesday, you must’ve been living under a rock.

Maybe by writing this column, I’m playing chicken. I’m calling a bluff and praying that I’m right. But if I were to stay home every time there was a threat or every time that I was afraid something bad could happen, I would be staying home every day for the rest of the year.

I’m not going to tell you to come to school tomorrow. If you feel so unsafe that you want to stay home, that’s your decision, and I’m not going to ask you to change it. This might sound too nonchalant about a serious situation, but sometimes you just have to trust that everything is going to be OK and face whatever’s coming head on.

Maybe I’m right.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Either way, I can’t let fear dictate my decisions.

I can’t shy away every time a bully snarls.

I can’t stay home every time I catch wind of something bad happening.

I can’t let them win.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Send all the threats you want. I’ll be at school.”

  1. Amy Hammett on March 15th, 2018 4:47 pm

    Bravo, Casey Loving. 👏
    I am proud of you, and I’m with you.

  2. Susan Wouters (Forgie) on March 15th, 2018 7:12 pm

    I can’t fully agree with this, and here is why: a threat cannot be taken as just a threat anymore. The Parkland Shooter made a threat, stating he was going to be a professional school shooter on a YouTube page as a comment, and everyone just thought he was doing it for attention and that it wouldn’t actually happen… but it did…

    Other students here in Wichita have threatened USD259 schools, and were found with weapons in their back pack or car once authorities were informed about their threats they made towards their school. These threats are being handled appropriately by authorities, but not by the rest of the student body. You cannot take a threat as a joke or think “it won’t happen to us” anymore. It’s 2018 and people are driven to shoot up schools more and more with every one that happens. For god knows what reason, more and more students are making threats and trying to carry out their plans. Saying “it won’t happen to us, it’s just a threat” isn’t doing anything but making yourself and others vulnerable, for if the suspected shooter sees that and takes that as a way of knowing people have their guard down, it will show that they are vulnerable and unsuspecting of anything and then they’ll strike. Then it’s not just a threat anymore, it’s a real life school shooting.

    I graduated from Maize High School in 2015. We didn’t have to worry about things like this. We didn’t have to worry about students wanting to kill their peers and teachers because they’re angry. WE DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ALL THE VIOLENCE. Yet, we still took every single threat as a promise because we didn’t want to be the school to made the news and prompted changes to gun laws, sparked protests and walkouts, and have to attend our friends funerals.

    My only advice to you as a high school student, don’t underestimate people when there is a threat. I had a threat made against me that I was going to be jumped if I started dating a certain guy from MSHS, and it happened. I didn’t know the girls who did it, nor their boy friends watching it go down. We weren’t at school so the district didn’t get involved and they got away with it. They did it out of pure hate. The real world is getting very very dark. If you see or hear something, say something. Whether it’s bullying, a threat to others safety, and inappropriate actions such as sexual harassment. Take everything seriously.

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Send all the threats you want. I’ll be at school.