This week, local schools increased security in my area

Amanda Witman
By Amanda Witman on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 - 11:34am

It's an odd situation. 

BRATTLEBORO—A vague, late-night automated call on Jan. 27 from the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union (WSESU) alerting parents about plans for heightened security at the local schools the next day prompted a variety of reactions.

At the top of the list, confusion.

The message conveyed to each of the 11 schools through the WSESU’s “Alert Now” system told listeners that school doors would be locked Monday, Jan. 28 due to security concerns. Law enforcement officers would conduct patrols at the schools, parents were told.

A second message went out to parents Monday night saying that the increased security measures would likely continue through the week.

The Commons has learned that some members of the school administration were informed of the identity of a person making the nonspecific threats via the police department. This individual has never been affiliated with the high school.

According to sources, the police are watching this person, but cannot take action because the person is not under arrest.

According to a public service announcement from Brattleboro Town Manager Barbara Sondag, town officials received information on Friday, Jan. 25, that “a person, who had previously made nonspecific threats regarding school-age people, might be returning to the area.”

A homeschooling dad called the sheriff's office, and they acknowledged that the threats were made by a mentally ill person who could no longer be held at the facility where he was previously under care.  He apparently believes that eradicating children is part of his neo-nazi calling, and he was observed trying to buy firearms.  There is apparently no legal grounds (yet) for the police or mental health authorities to detain him, although the subtext in the news is that they're watching him and hoping for a reason.

Approx. 50% of local school kids were absent on Monday, likely kept home by parents with safety concerns, and some kept their kids home on Tuesday, too.  No more news has materialized and people seem to have relaxed about it somewhat, but it caused a big stir.  I am wondering if the homeschooling curriculum company in town, Oak Meadow, might have gotten more inquiries than usual from parents who hadn't previously questioned their faith in "the system" but now felt they had reason to.

It made me very, very, very glad that we homeschool already and that I didn't need to struggle with these issues regarding my kids. 

I wonder if we'll see more and more homeschoolers as people's faith in the system's ability to keep kids safe and appropriately educate them crumbles.  What are your thoughts?

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