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With all of the commotion Wednesday surrounding the threat made towards Coffee County Schools, we think everyone should take a moment to recognize some people who were grossly underappreciated during the social-media fallout and post-threat banter.
Coffee County Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall, CHS principal Joey Vaughn and officials with the Manchester Police Department and Coffee County Sheriff’s Department handled the situation as effectively and efficiently as can be expected.
Unfortunately, the default reaction of our country in situations like on Wednesday is far too often one of fear. We fear the worst. We are all too often forced into big reactions.
But, with mass shootings and bombing tragedies seared forever into our memories, the reactions by schools to place schools on lockdown at the mere mention of trouble is to be expected and, for better or worse, the reality we face now.
That fear is fueled by panic. As soon as the Manchester Times posted information about the threat on Wednesday- which we posted to inform the public and hopefully slow the rumor mill – the Facebook fallout began.
Why haven’t us parents been notified? Why hasn’t the school system at least sent out a text? They should call and let us know! Those were the types of comments parents were bombarding the Times Facebook page with.
Only if it were a perfect world. School officials, while imperfect like us all, did a fantastic job handling the situation Wednesday. They ensured student safety, executed lockdowns at eight schools simultaneously, made sure police officers were dispatched to all of those schools and through all of that sent a text to notify parents and alerted the Manchester Times to aid in getting that information to the community. As the community newspaper we take the responsibility of getting sensitive information like this to the public seriously.
While we understand that parents are naturally worried about their children, the negative reaction to the way the situation was handled seems unfair. Some parents actually complained that they weren’t alerted by text message yet they aren’t signed up for the system’s alerts. Who is at fault for that?
Parents will be concerned and that is as much reality as the state of fear we face in these situations.
But perhaps those who reacted negatively, and even those who reacted positively, should take the time to contact local administrators and police officials and thank them this Thanksgiving season.
After all, the threat was just that, a threat. Everyone is safe – and everyone seems to have done all they could do to make sure of that.