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When I Heard the Helicopter

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I knew something was up. I woke this morning with a killer head cold, one I have not been able to shake for almost two weeks. Blame it on stress (I blame everything on stress). I’m trying to do a little too much with too little time. But what mom isn’t?

I was standing at the kitchen counter making Tommy’s lunch when I heard a helicopter lingering overhead. It sounded so close, as if it was in my backyard. I said to my husband, “What’s a helicopter doing here? There are only helicopters when a convict has escaped or something.” Or when the town’s high school receives an apparent bomb threat.

Two seconds after I asked that question, the local news announced a search of our high school after a bomb threat was found written on a wall last Friday. Huh? Last Friday? Why are they at the school today?

Apparently, today is the day the threat was allegedly going to take place. Coincidence that this is also the day science MCAS testing was to take place?

I honestly didn’t think much about the threat, probably because my kids are not in high school so I do not share the anxieties parents of high schoolers must feel. And I am torn between honest concern (we all remember Columbine) and dismissing this as a high school prank probably carried out by kids who did not want to take their MCAS tests today. Or ever, for that matter.

To get the full scoop, I hopped online to read the local newspaper’s Web site coverage. I am always amazed at the comments parents make in situations like these. You know, the reporters go to the school, where parents are usually hanging out after driving their kids to school (God forbid they ride the bus). And some parent says something like, “This stuff doesn’t happen in our town.”

Oh yeah. That’s right. Not in My Backyard. To illustrate my point, here’s an actual comment from the local paper’s Web site:

“It is very scary for our kids. While these thing happen every day, they do not happen in Ashland to our children. I have always been amazed at the security at the front door while side and rear doors are opened all throughout the day. Maybe this will get security to be an actual priority and not just talk.”

And then this comment in response:

“You the parents are the problem! The middle school has one of the best safety measures I’ve seen. Then the parents get upset when the staff tells them that they or their children are not allowed to roam the school at will. Parents come in with their kids after school has been dismissed and say is it ok for him/her to go to the class room to get their books or homework that they forgot. Or is it ok if I go to my child’s class room If he forgot his drink today. When the staff tells them no, they can’t do that, the parents bitch and moan and become down right nasty to the staff like it’s their right to have access to the schools. Security measures apply for EVERYONE not just to people who do not have kids in that school.”

I feel for school administrators and teachers today. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

Can’t you hear them saying it today? “Damn parents.”

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