Most Racine Unified Kids Attend School Friday

Many parents chose to keep their kids home Friday after the district acknowledged receiving threats of gun violence. Every threat was investigated and none were found to be credible.

After reports surfaced earlier this week about threats of violence at area schools, Racine Unified parents, for the most part, sent their kids to school Friday.

"Today was a scheduled school day, so of course my two kids went to school (at) McKinley and Case. Didn't think twice about it," said Kathy Holley.

Today marks one week since a gunman opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children, six adults and himself. Friday was also supposed to be calendar. Some individuals put the two together and used them as support for threats of gun violence in schools.

RUSD sent a letter home with students Wednesday acknowledging the threats and reassuring parents that each incident was being taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

Like many other schools across the state, we have had rumors of a threat to schools circulating in our schools and on social media.  Given the media attention to 12/21 and the recent tragedy in Connecticut these rumors have rightfully caused significant concern.

Our administrative staff and our police liaison/security director are thoroughly investigating all information brought forward. To date nothing has indicated that there is a threat to student safety on Friday.

Patch used Facebook to ask Unified parents if they sent their children to school today and why or why not. Many sided with Holley.

"Both my sons went to school today. I have complete trust and faith in their two schools, teachers and staff to keep them safe," Carol Brawner posted.

Brenda Gritton Branski's kids go to Schulte School in Sturtevant. She said she sent them to school because sitting home in fear doesn't sit well with her.

"Yes, my kids went to school today. Today is not different than any other day. I feel the safest place to be today of all days would be at a school," she wrote. "Things happen no matter where you are. You can't sit at home in fear. You need to keep on keeping on."

And it wasn't just Unified parents who sent their kids off to school. Julie Luton, a Patch reader in Texas, refused to think of Friday as a day different from any other.

"I sent my children to school today. We are not safer today than last week. We need mental healthcare AND gun control reform. The date doesn't make a difference. I will pray, though, for the safety of my children and all children across the United States," she said.

But other parents, like Melissa Wynstra, said even though the threats are probably just rumors, she wasn't taking any chances.

"No. I don't care if its 'just a threat,' my child's life is more important. So we will work on schoolwork at home," she said.

Chriss Stump's son attends a private school, but with an open gym assembly planned for this afternoon, she felt more comfortable keeping him at home.

She posted, "Our school (is) having an open gym assembly today (and) he'll stay home. So no I won't buy into the insanity but I'll protect my child from it." 

RUSD spokesperson Stacy Tapp said the district respects parents' decisions because every family has to make the choice that's right for them.

"Parents have to go with what feels best for them," she said. "We have heard that attendance is down significantly today."

Unified is marking the absent students as excused.


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