Communication is key when handling school threats

LANSING, Mich. - According to Everytown, there have been 17 school shootings so far in 2018.

In addition, Michigan ranks in the top five for threats this year.

All of this, something parents aren't taking lightly, especially when it comes to being in the know.

"I would definitely want to know as soon as possible what is going on," Carl Howard said.

Howard says that as a parent, and now a grandparent, he wants to know about the situation as soon as possible.

"These are my children, you know? I want to make sure they're safe. It's important to know what is going on at school and I don't want to find out after the fact. You know when the police are escorting them out of the school, I need to know so I can be there," he added.

Howard isn't alone when it comes to this. In fact, all the parents News 10 spoke to shared his opinion. They say they want constant communication, that way they can spring into action if needed.

"It should all be right there where parents can get it right away. Without having to try and call to see whats going on and waiting to hear when its all over and done and its too late," Gayle Bosworth said.

Superintendents tell me that although that is their goal, sometimes it's not the best idea when they are trying to asses the situations as well.

"So you try to provide as much information to the parents as you can without heightening their sense of concern. At the same time, the more information you give them the more hyped they get anyway. There's really nothing you can do to please everybody," Bill DeFrance said.

Bill DeFrance has been the superintendent at Eaton Rapids for the past 14 years.

He says that they've seen school threats in the past, and even as recently as last year.

That being said, having parents find out about an ongoing issue at the school can pose major problems, especially when it comes to getting authorities in.

"They're going to let someone know and pretty soon you know and parents know and sometimes the parents know quicker than we know so that becomes a real problem in terms of trying to control the traffic flow," he said.

DeWitt Superintendent John Deiter says that keeping parents in the know is obviously important. But accuracy is more important than speed, which can be a problem with modern technology.

"Most of the students, especially in grades three or four and up have phones, so information can get out that way as well and that can be a challenge because we're still trying to get information," Deiter said.

Parents tell me that they understand the need for accuracy, but that doesn't mean they want to be kept in the dark.

"Let's address it. But let's also let the parents know," Howard said.

You can check your child's school policy by contacting their school's administration office.