14 September 2017 — 1103 mdt
What does withholding the nature of the
threat that closed Flathead schools accomplish?
All schools in the Flathead, public and private, and Flathead Valley Community College, are closed today because someone sent the schools email and text messages threatening to do something bad. According to the Flathead Beacon, “persons of interest” are being interviewed by the county sheriff and the FBI.
Because the investigation is in progress, the public and parents are being kept ignorant of the nature of the threat. That’s the official justification for keeping secret what the texter/emailer threatened to do.
Yet, the person who made the threats knows what he threatened to do. So do school authorities and law enforcement agents. How would the investigation be harmed by releasing what was threatened to be done?
Unofficially, of course, keeping parents and the public ignorant of the nature of the threat deprives them of the information they need to assess the judgment of school officials and law enforcers. “Trust us,” demand the agents of ignorance, “we know what we’re doing and we have everyone’s best interests at heart.”
Most people will trust the authorities, and trust them blindly. The specter of children being harmed always causes parents and decent citizens to demand erring on the side of safety — to demand a risk free environment, which is an impossibility — and school administrators, skilled in covering their backsides, are happy to oblige.
But keeping the public ignorant, an objective not found in education’s mission statement, invites speculation, may leave people more fearful than the facts warrant, and generates resentment toward, and mistrust of, authority.