Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Kudos to the U of W
The University of Winnipeg was placed in a no-win situation this week after news of a cryptic threat on a washroom stall became public.Now, granted, it was the university which made the threat public. I suppose they could have just kept the matter in-house and none of us would have been any the wiser.However, can you imagine the outcry had something actually gone down and we'd learned of the threat after the fact?So I credit school officials for taking the initial step and letting everyone know what was going on.The next step, of course, was how to react to the threat.I think there were three options here.1. Do nothing. Pretend like it never happened and simply go on with the normal daily routine.2. Panic. Shut down the entire school. Bring in wall-to-wall security. And pray nothing actually happens.3. Be sensible. Let students know what is happening. Keep everyone in the loop. Don't shut down the school, but be vigilant and have extra security on stand-by.
Obviously, the university chose the latter. And in my opinion, it was the only move that made sense.Doing nothing would open them up to all sorts of armchair quarterbacking, or worse. Lawsuits, anyone?Shutting down the school entirely would be sending a message to the creep who wrote the threat - along with anyone else who may have a similar idea - that it just takes a few words on a bathroom stall to completely bring a major university to its knees.So, they did the only thing that made sense. And, not surprisingly, a lot of fearful students stayed away.And nothing happened.We all realize there was probably nothing to this threat to begin with. But we live in an age where Columbine, Dawson College, Virginia Tech and so many other schools have become synonymous with tragedy.So taking it seriously - but not to the point of waving the white flag - was the perfect response.
Nobody can be happy about the fact that some idiot was able to have even the slightest impact on society. Let's hope police are able to catch him, charge him and the justice system comes down hard to send its own message that this sort of thing won't be tolerated.But until we reach the stage where the threat of school violence is non-existent - don't hold your breath waiting for that, folks - this is the new reality we must live in.Agree or disagree? Post your thoughts below.
This is also the subject of my latest website Jury Poll, which you can vote on by clicking HERE