The school year in my opinion has possibly been one of the worst for Killeen ISD. The reason why I say that is because of all the incidents that have happened.

Now, as a concerned parent myself, I remain cautious at all times, but I really didn’t have to show any personal concern until yesterday (Tuesday, Oct. 19).

I have a son who attends Rancier Middle School. As you may have read in the news, a threat was made against the school that was ultimately deemed "unfounded" after an investigation by Killeen ISD Police. KISD didn't officially comment on the nature of the threat, but my child told me what I'm sure several Rancier students told their parents: That a student talked about bringing a gun to school and doing harm.

My anxiety was completely through the roof. The principal made sure to send out a notice letting parents know that not only were our children notified of exactly what was going on, but they were also safe. There's been some controversy over whether school officials should have notified parents sooner. They reportedly heard about the threat around 9:30 AM, but parental notices didn't go out until around lunch time, and I didn't receive it until late afternoon. Perhaps they didn't want to start a panic, and that's understandable, but as a parent, I couldn't help but be a little upset.

Whatever the case, it is important to me that we have a conversation with our children on just exactly what the heck is going on in school. What are our babies actually going through up there, and how comfortable are they talking to parents about it?

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The fact that a child can even imagine hurting their peers or an educator alone bothers me. Whatever made the child feel that way, I can’t stress it enough that I think as parents we need to make sure that we are having the proper conversations with our children to make sure that when they go to school, they are respectful to their teachers and fellow students, focus on learning, and come home in one piece. We should also talk to them about speaking up when something isn't right and being comfortable talking to their parents about it.

I also think it’s very important that teachers hear out students due to the fact that it could be a cry for help that just went unnoticed. Let your child know that they have a voice and they should be comfortable to talk to you about anything so we can avoid any of these types of issues.

Also, parents, we have got to be involved. That means staying tuned to what's happening at our child's school, being in communication with teachers and principals, and listening to our kids when they tell us about their day or their concerns. (Or, in some cases, being mindful enough to notice when our kids aren't telling us about their day or their concerns at school.)

I am extremely happy that nothing happened to any children or staff at Rancier Middle School, but again it is very important to have this conversation so we can avoid this forever.


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