Monday afternoon, two 12-year-old students were arguing on a Payson school bus. As tempers flared, one of the students shouted that there was a bomb in the other child's backpack. Other students observing the argument reported the comment and the boy was immediately dragged off the bus and interrogated by a contingency of police officers.
There was no bomb.
Despite a child's reputation, we can no longer dismiss such threatening comments as the folly of youth, or excuse it as a case of "boys will be boys."
We should not label the other students as tattletales or blame them for speaking up.
Police Chief Gordon Gartner said that in light of recent shootings at our nation's schools, police, parents and the media must all walk a fine line between healthy concern for our children's safety, and overreacting. We commend the Payson Police Department for handling this situation swiftly and appropriately.
There needs to be a new awareness in our schools and a heightened level of expected behavior. And it needs to be now today.
If you're standing in line to board an airplane, you cannot joke about having a bomb or a weapon without the possible consequence of being arrested and charged with a felony.
Tragic events in history have raised the standard of acceptable behavior at airports. Too many lives have been lost because terrorists or unstable people have acted out their rage and hurt innocent travelers.
Our children are innocent travelers on a journey through life that, for most, requires a public education.
Sadly enough, recent history is telling us that now is the time for a new level of awareness at our schools.