If bathroom graffiti threatened violence at school today, would you keep your child home?

If threatening graffiti was found in your child’s high school bathroom, would you have kept your child home?

Yesterday, in a boy’s bathroom at Lakeside High School in DeKalb County, someone wrote, “Everyone is going to die on Fri., Jan. 30.”

CBS 46 had posted a photo of the graffiti, which included a sketch of a gun firing. (Just checked and the photo of the threat is now down.) Some parents told me they decided to keep their teens home today as a precaution.

That likely delighted their teenagers, but it may spur copycats by students longing for a three-day weekend.

Bathroom graffiti has some parents at Lakeside High worried. (AJC Photo)

Bathroom graffiti threatening violence worried parents at DeKalb’s Lakeside High, some of home kept their children home Friday. (AJC Photo)

I went to an all-girl Catholic high school. We also had graffiti of this sort now and then. We ignored it.

But can parents or schools afford to ignore it now?

On the other hand, I would imagine Lakeside students are safer today than most days in light of the heightened security and awareness. And school shooters normally don’t broadcast their intentions.

Here is the letter sent to Lakeside parents last night.

Jan. 29, 2015

Lakeside HS

Parents and Guardians:

The purpose of this communication is to make you aware of graffiti found in a boys’ restroom that made a vague threat against the student body for Friday, January, 30, 2015.  While there is no credible evidence to substantiate this threat, the school takes these types of matters seriously.  The School Resource Officer has been made aware and been investigating the graffiti, and the district has also assisted the school.

 Any individual found guilty of these types of actions will be dealt with appropriately.  The safety of our students is paramount.  The purpose of this communication is to inform you of this incident so that we can work together to make sure that all of our children are kept safe while they are in school, while they are traveling to and from school, and while they are home. 

We also ask that you continue to encourage your children to report any suspicious activity to you and the school, and do not hesitate to contact Lakeside High School if you have any questions.  Thank you.

Jason Clyne
Principal

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
Betsy Ross1776
Betsy Ross1776

Wow. Maureen Downey reached a new low. OF COURSE shooters broadcast their intentions.
And to mock people who are keeping their children home as a precaution?
Maureen, you don't deserve to be called a journalist.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

Actually, it is well-documented that the Columbine shooters did "broadcast their intentions," although not with graffiti. "Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold broadcast their unthinkable intentions on frequencies to which their parents, peers and teachers were not tuned in. Eric maintained a website filled with lists of whom and what he hated. Dylan turned in an English assignment that described killing other students. Both boys had been suspended from school and arrested by local police during the academic year preceding the massacre. But no one took these and other warning signs seriously or, in some cases, even noticed them at all. Harris and Klebold are not the only school shooters whose actions leading up to their devastating acts forecast their intentions. Research conducted jointly by the Secret Service and the Department of Education shows that, since the early '90s, the majority of the school shooters have given some kind of warning signal, however cryptic, prior to their attacks." (Jessica Calefati, "School Safety 10 Years After Columbine," U.S. News & World Report, April 17, 2009) As a public school administrator, I take the presence of any graffiti seriously, as defaced bathrooms are evidence of a less-than-healthy school culture. I would take a graffiti threat to school safety very seriously.

TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

We pooh-pooh these things until ten or twenty kids get shot, then we wonder "how did this happen?" Lakeside Mom, below, is correct. Schools cannot be prisons, but it is easy enough to just walk into one, especially at the beginning or the end of a day. Security needs to be better.

cbr1965
cbr1965

One of my kids was on a college visit but the other went and it was swarming with police.  That said, he was picked up at lunch because there were so many kids that stayed home.

LakesideMom
LakesideMom

My son goes to Lakeside and I kept him home today.  I went by the school yesterday afternoon and saw nothing but students.  My son said the coaches for the team sport he plays didn't even show up.  As a test, I walked the school and grounds and was not questioned once and I didn't seen a single facility or administrative person at all.  I decided then and there that they were not taking this seriously enough and kept my son home. 

booful98
booful98

@LakesideMom I think you did the right thing. I would have done the same. I am not normally paranoid or a helicopter parent, but there is no surviving something like a school shooting anymore. I can't take that chance. And I don't really blame the schools all that much, their hands are tied.

SleepyLabRat
SleepyLabRat

My son does go to Lakeside and you had better believe I had him stay home. If I had *known* the place would be swarming with police today (I drove by during my lunch break and it is), I probably would have sent him to school. 

Also, if the typo was noticed, why not just write it as "creditable [sic]"? 

Mandella88
Mandella88

@SleepyLabRat

Not excusing the error on the document, but when you live in a glass house don't throw stones.


A good example of your suggested correction would be "typo [sic]" when it is actually a malapropism.

SleepyLabRat
SleepyLabRat

@Mandella88

Huh? I think you may have missed part of the earlier discussion. Please see TheDeal2's comment below. The principal's letter, quoted on this page, originally contained the word 'creditable' where it should have read 'credible.' After TheDeal2 commented on it, it the author replied that she had noticed the error in the original but had left it. She then corrected it on this page. But since it is a direct quote, I would have opted for the use of '[sic]'. 

Mandella88
Mandella88

@SleepyLabRat @Mandella88

The use of the word "creditable" instead of "credible" is not a typo.  It is a malapropism, hence my use of "[sic]" to address your error.


Nonetheless, anything from TheDeal2 is nothing but DSW Mafia propaganda and garbage.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2 @Mandella88 @SleepyLabRat

Let me clarify since I am assuming your three question marks means that you are in need of three times the answer: DEKALB SCHOOLS WATCH MAFIA - a friends and family crew trolling the internet one post at a time!

class80olddog
class80olddog

So were there armed police guards around the school today? Might be a good idea.  Locker searches, portable metal detector, ...

berniee
berniee

I remember when Lakeside was one of the top schools in Georgia. I remember when Peachtree , Dunwoody, Henderson and Tucker were all great neighborhood high  schools !!

Gee I wonder what happened ?? it seems like you here that  a lot  in the metro area these days.... " i remember when that was a good school and when that was a nice neighborhood to live in "  

i wonder what happened and ruined everything

cbr1965
cbr1965

@berniee It's still a nice neighborhood and a good school and nothing is ruined.  You think Columbine wasn't a nice school or Sandy Hook?  Give me a break - there are crazy people everywhere.  Just say what you want to say without inferring things you are unwilling to own about neighborhoods or schools.

cbr1965
cbr1965

@booful98 @cbr1965 @berniee I understood that. It seems like it was a reference to the students that attend now and how the neighborhood and academics have been diminished due to their presence.  If not, perhaps he/she was talking about DeKalb County School System as a whole which I would agree is a mess.  Whatever the intent, it was unclear and could be construed in more than one way so, perhaps, a little education at one of the schools mentioned would have been helpful in getting the point across.  Well that and understanding the difference between the words "here" and "hear" would've made it a much clearer post.

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

CREDIBLE, not creditable


And, yes, I would definitely keep my kid at home.  It's not worth the risk these days.

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

@MaureenDowney I knew it wasn't your doing, Maureen.  Maybe you need to leave it so that the principal will have someone in his English department proof read before he sends things out.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@TheDeal2 I was debating changing that. I think I will send DeKalb a note about it and let them know I am fixing. I am always torn about editing official documents.

NoahVale
NoahVale

@MaureenDowney @TheDeal2 It is NOT up to you to edit an official document.  If seeing a spelling error you should add in (sic) by the mistake.  That would be the responsible action to take.  Trying to make the entity look better shows bias, not reporting.

NoahVale
NoahVale

@MaureenDowney @TheDeal2 It is NOT up to you to edit an official document.  If seeing a spelling error you should edit in (sic).  That would be the respnsible action to take.  Trying to make the entity look better shows bias, not reporting.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@TheDeal2 @MaureenDowney

Maybe you should start with yourself - Proofread, not proof read.  The DeKalb Schools Watch Mafia shows us their hypocrisy again!

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2 @Mandella88 @TheDeal2 @MaureenDowney

Let me clarify since I am assuming your three question marks means that you are in need of three times the answer: DEKALB SCHOOLS WATCH MAFIA - a friends and family crew trolling the internet one post at a time!