Concerned parents struggle with sending kids to school - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Concerned parents struggle with sending kids to school

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Plenty of police and even parents were  keeping watch at local schools Monday.

A threat, found on a bathroom wall in January, said Monday would end in violence at schools in Elkhart and Saint Joseph Counties. Despite some rumors on Twitter and Facebook, police tell us nothing happened.

The threats did keep many students at home. FOX28 called around to many local districts Monday to find out how attendance looked.

  • Elkhart Schools had just 30 to 40 percent of students go to class Monday.
  • Goshen Community School Corporation saw 60% of student attendance.
  • Middlebury Schools had over 64% attendance.
  • Concord Schools had 55% overall attendance.
  • Jimtown had 90% attendance at the high school, 81% at the junior high, 54% at the intermediate, and 51% at the elementary schools
  • WaNee Community Schools had about 75% of their students in attendance.
  • PHM schools had 68% of students come to school.
  • Mishawaka Schools say 61% of their students arrived Monday.
  • South Bend Community Schools say they had a higher level of absenteeism.

"Anytime there's a threat made to your child, you're going to be concerned," says parent, Linda.

These parents took the threat seriously. They dropped their second grader off at Pinewood Elementary like usual, but the rest of their day was far from normal.

"We're just hanging out in front of the school keeping our eye on things, more so that I'm not at home paranoid, I can sit here in front of the school paranoid," she says.

Sitting in their parked car all day, they say there seemed to be a lot of activity going on at the school, with police patrolling the building.

"They even came over just to make sure we were here for the right reasons and that we were concerned parents and not up to no good," says parent Steve Hancock.

They say they felt better knowing they were close by if something did go wrong at school.

"We thought well we'll take them, but we'll be there, as well," says Linda.

"If something would happen I want to be ready," says Hancock.

Todd Buckley's third grader was sick Monday, otherwise he would have been at school, too. "You've got to take everything seriously, but we're constantly talking to our son about bullies and not being scared and you got to go on with life."

South Bend School Board member William Sniadecki says school was the safest place for kids Monday, but he understands why parents were concerned. "It's the parent's responsibility also for the kids, if they feel their kids are in any danger whatsoever, I don't blame them for keeping them home."

He applauds the parents who trusted the schools with their kids for the day. "I give them credit for trusting the security of the school, the security of the corporation to do everything possible."

He says South Bend schools will continue to do what it takes to keep students safe. "I think the superintendent, the staff, the board, all the way down to the teachers are doing everything possible. "

And parents across Elkhart and St. Joseph County agree. "They've done a great job," says Linda.

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