“Isn’t it crazy?” Julie Quinn says as she looks across the room at her ninth grade daughter and 7th grade son. “It just seems mad, and especially a small town.”
The Quinn family is just one of many deciding whether to send their kids to school, after a threat on a bathroom wall promising violence on Friday. Now dozens of parents question whether their kids are safe behind school walls.
“It’s just incredibly sad to think that we have to make these kind of decisions,” Quinn says.
For this family that decision comes down to their kids' comfort.
“No, I’m not really scared,” says fifteen-year-old Kaitlin Quinn. “None of us are really that worried about it because of all the security measures that have been taken.”
Quinn says trust in school administrators is another decision maker for her family.
“Our superintendent has a child in that building complex,” she says. “If they feel confident, then I feel pretty confident. I don't think that worrying about what could happen is fruitful.”
Quinn’s husband Mike agrees, and the two settle on sending the kids to school, but not without disappointment. This conversation has them and many parents wishing for a throwback to days where school violence meant Johnny getting in a fight on the playground.
“You see it all across the news, all across the country, everywhere,” says Mike Quinn. “It seems to be an issue these days unfortunately.”
Across town mother Susan Stokes is making the same tough problem, but she decides keeping her kids at home is the only way to be sure they're safe.
“I’m scared,” she says. “The first thing that popped in my mind was Columbine and the Virginia Tech situation.”
These two families may have different answer to a difficult decision, but they do agree on one thing—parenting’s not what it used to be... even in the small town of Paxton.
“Anytime you say goodbye to your kid there's that little tiny glimpse of ‘I'll see you, God Willing, I'll see you when you get back.”
Police are still working to find out who's behind the threat. In the meantime, PBL schools are still on lockdown. Kids can't leave classrooms without escorts, and everyone is searched when they go in.