School Shootings: Should Parents Be Informed Even When Plans Fall Through?

School Shootings: Should Parents Be Informed Even When Plans Fall Through?

As a parent, my biggest fear is something happening to my daughter. When we are together I can protect her from the world with everything I got but when I send her to school, her safety is in the hands of others. This constantly is a worry for me because I am always reminded by the lack of common sense people in power positions seem to have.

My family moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2013 without knowing anyone in the area. We were trying to give our daughter the best life possible. Iowa offered everything that we considered important and I still stand by my decision to move here but I have learned although Iowa schools are highly rated, they are not without their share of problems.

Cedar Rapids School Shootings Jefferson

The school my daughter attends is a newer building with a lot to offer, it rates a 9 on one of the highest ranking school research websites, they have state of the art materials and use the newest technology to ensure each student gets a good education.

All of these facts looked great when searching for a place to relocate but there is always some very important information that is missing, how would they handle tragedies like school shootings and if someone were planning to harm other students but for one reason or another the plans changed, would the school inform parents?

In my experience, you can ask these questions all day to the administrators at your children’s school but chances are you will get vague prepared answers that sound great on the surface but lack any real plan of action. This has become more obvious after recent events that have taken place in a Cedar Rapids High School this past week.

Jefferson High School Cedar Rapids School Shootings

Last week I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and I stumbled upon a story of an attempted suicide outside of a local Cedar Rapids high school. I read the story which did not give a lot of details but it painted the picture of a young man bringing a firearm to school and attempting to take his own life just outside of the building.

I continued to read the comments that a few people closer to the situation than myself had left on the news story. Some people claimed the boy was bullied and some claimed he was planning on bringing the gun inside to shoot other students. Obviously there is no way for me to decipher who actually knows what they are talking about and who is just trying to stir the pot but I did draw my own conclusions from what I read.

If he brought a gun to school, I feel that he was planning on killing others and most likely students that have bullied him. It seems to me that this is the conclusion most people with common sense would come to but like I mentioned earlier people in power positions sometimes are without common sense and apparently they have not drawn this same conclusion.

I contacted one of the commenters on the news story because they had mentioned the boy who ultimately died from his self inflicted wounds, was trolled online by bullies and another person must have seen my comment because they then sent me links to what is assumed to be his Youtube channel.

Feel free to check it out yourself, if this is indeed his youtube account it’s days being live are numbered as I am sure the powers that be will want to remove any trace of evidence that this kid has issues that went unnoticed by all.

The commenters on his most viewed video titled “school” have channels of their own full of videos about school shootings and videos titled School Shooter Fandom, High School Massacre, and videos glamorizing previous school shootings. One of his commenters even said “I knew it…. He would try to do something“.

Usually when a tragedy happens everyone reads through any public social media posts they can get their hands on and then try to link even the most insignificant details posted to signs that something was wrong for a long time.

There is no need to make something of nothing in this case because one look at the collection of videos on this youtube account will be enough to confirm that this youtuber had an obsession with violence, more specifically school shootings and massacres.

Cedar Rapids School Shootings

Although the parents are undoubtedly going through a hard time right now I think there needs to be some kind of accountability on their part. Where did their son get a gun? How come they were not monitoring his Youtube channel and if he was being bullied to the point he felt the need to take his own life or kill others, how come they missed all of the signs?

Some may think it is heartless to place any blame on parents who are grieving the loss of their son but if this ended in the way it seemed to be headed and he took the lives of other students at Jefferson High School, everyone would be pointing fingers at the parents. We would be demanding answers and wanting to know how a teenager plotted to murder his classmates without his parents or the school staff noticing. 

Another issue I have is with how the school has handled this situation. The first news that was posted about this case was on Friday stating a student suffered a gunshot wound and the school went on lockdown. The second news story came out a little later and it said that it was an apparent suicide attempt and the “victim” was taken to the hospital. The next story was that the “victim’ died from the self inflicted gunshot wound. There was no mention of a plan to shoot others and even if this is speculation I think the parents of other students in the school should have been informed of all of the details right away.

For all we know the shooter may have had a partner in crime that did not show up to school that day which could have led to the change in plans, this would mean they still pose a threat to students.

Keep in mind I do not have all of the facts but there seems to be one recurring rumor in all of the comment threads related to this case. Allegedly a teacher knew that this kid was planning on killing other students and somehow deterred him from this right before he killed himself. If this is the case, why did this teacher let him leave knowing he had this intention and according to that same rumor after meeting with the teacher he then killed himself.

What are your thoughts on this situation, should the school handle possible school shootings that didn’t happen in the same manner as school shootings that did happen and give out as much information as possible or hold back until they have all of the facts? Should parents be held accountable for their kids actions in cases like this?

Keep in mind if your child was a student at this school, would you feel like they were in danger and want to be kept up to date as the story unfolds?


  1. I think the main point is not that his parents in particular were bad or out of touch. The bigger point is that SO MANY parents are out of touch. You have to pay attention to your kids. You have to watch for changes. You have to be aware, so you can help them before something terrible is done to themselves or others.

    • I agree Paula. Thanks for your opinion. I worry about how so many kids are getting their hands on guns. It seems more and more parents are not paying attention!

  2. I think the schools should have a clear line of communication with parents when something like this happens. I would definitely want to be kept as up-to-date as possible.

  3. Our school actually has a very good plan implemented and they actually told us in detail what exactly will happen. I think one of the best things is that they actually have a way to text message to parents to tell them what is going on with very little effort on their part.

    • Hi Jeanette, thanks for your sharing. The text messaging system is something that a lot of schools in this area use as well. The problem comes in when the text never comes through due to technical issues or like in this case, they are assuming nobody else was involved although there is a lot of speculation that there may be something more. I feel it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  4. This is so scary. The world we live in is terrifying. I think schools definitely need to communicate to the parents. Parents would want to be informed of events like these happening on campus.

    • I agree with you Jenn but it seems some parents are not wanting to be informed. They claim it is time to let the parents of the student grieve. I understand where they are coming from but I think the other parents also have a right to know about anything that goes on at their child’s school.

  5. It is kind of sad that you even have to worry about these things in this day and time. I wish school shooting were a thing of myth and not something that happens with a shocking regularity.

  6. Wow! That is scary tough because you never know what someone is thinking. Thank God that in this day and age, they are crazy enough to post their ideas of what is next on social media because you can actually save a life from it. Do you take it seriously? How do you go about trying to make sure it doesn’t happen? One never knows but praying this year, there won’t be any reportings of this kinf f thing.

    • Hi Stephanie, thanks for leaving your opinion! I think a lot of people are struggling with the social media part of this because sometimes they chalk it up to kids will be kids and not take it seriously. I feel like there is no room of error when dealing with guns and children so I would rather be safe than sorry.

  7. This is scary but saddens me at the same time. I do think parents need to be apprised of any danger their child may have face while in school. What is sad is that this child was obviously suffering & not mentally stable. It is sad that no one in his life noticed or were able to help him.

    • I agree with you Gwendolyn, thanks for leaving your opinion. I do wonder where he got the gun and am saddened by the fact that nobody was able to help him.

  8. As a former teacher and current parent, it is so incredibly important to have an open line of communication with whatever is happening at the school and within the community. Establishing trust is so key and will help in any and all situations.

  9. Rebecca Swenor says:

    I don’t know how I would feel but I would be really ticked off at that teacher for not doing anything to help the child if that is the case. When I was in high school one of my classmates brought a rifle to school and I could not believe it. He was threatening the teacher and himself. A couple of other classmates jumped him and got the rifle away before he could do anything. This happened back in 1987 and I can say I never thought of him doing anything like that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and making others question the happenings at the school/ schools.

    • Thank you Rebecca for sharing your opinion! That is a scary story you described, I couldn’t imagine how your parents felt after that occurrence but I bet they were afraid to send you back to school after such an event. I am glad it turned out the way it did and I hope the the young man you speak of got the help he needed. I agree talking about it and questioning things is a good thing, I am not trying to rile anyone up as some would say, I just want the school to be safe. I think the parents deserve to know every detail.

  10. in any extraordinary event in school, I suppose should really be informed. No parent will ever be at peace if they don’t know what’s happening in the school where their children are going

  11. Or maybe let the police do their investigation without coming to assumptions based on social media. The kid very well may have had issues. What proof do you have? None. What proof do you have the parents didn’t do anything? None. In fact there are reports that the parents had been going to the school about the bullying and the school did nothing. Even that is heresay though.

    Getting people riled up via social media without proof should also be held accountable. *cough* it was also very possible this young man wanted to commit suicide in a place he knew might get someone’s attention on what happened to him. That he went there just to hurt others IS NOT the only logical conclusion. Especially since he didn’t.

    So before we start throwing stones… let’s let the people who actually get paid to investigate actually do it.

    • Hi Sidney, thanks for sharing your opinion!

      As a parent I am concerned for the safety of other children at the school. I understand this is a delicate situation and I am sure the parents are going through a tough time right now. While there are many theories about what the intentions of the student were, without concrete evidence I nor anyone can be sure of why this happened or who else may be involved, that is why I state that these are my opinions not facts. Everything is alleged and hearsay at this point in time, I am hoping to hear more information and I posted out of curiosity to see if other parents feel the same way.

      I worry that the people who get paid to investigate are withholding information. I also know that school shootings are usually followed up by everyone in the community being completely blindsided by such events. I know Cedar Rapids is a small town and there are not too many reliable sources of information but with the help of social media we can keep people informed every step of the way.

      I wouldn’t call what I am doing throwing stones but I do wonder how the student got his hands on a gun. Whether he ever had intentions of shooting other students or not, I do feel that there needs to be accountability for him having access to a firearm. Why was this gun accessible to a child? If he had shot others there would be an uproar about gun laws being more strict and that would affect many people who are responsible gun owners. I think there needs to be attention brought to this situation to keep everyone safe.

      I also hope that this may serve as a wake up call to parents with guns in the home, keep them locked up. The idea that this would never happen in our town or to our child is outdated, kids are committing suicides and homicides at an alarming rate. Something needs to be done and not talking about it is not the answer.

      • My problem with your post isn’t with the idea of discussion of what parents want from their community safety personnel or schools but the assumes. You assume the child got the gun from a parent. What if they got if from a ‘friend’? What if it was stolen? Children are not 100 percent under the control of their parents. They often do stupid things. They’re like people like that. Even if somehow this was a family weapon the boy got ahold of we don’t know how. Did he steal the combination for a gun safe? Having a discussion about school shootings and responsible gun ownership is one thing. Making a bunch of assumptions at the expense of a community and family is another.

        Cedar Rapids is far from a small town. It has shootings near weekly. They’ve been struggling with an influx in violent crime for a few years now. I live mere minutes from this community. The police are not going to willfully withhold information. They also aren’t going to put every rumor they have reported to them out immediately though either. A thorough investigation can take time.

        You assume where the gun came from, you assume the parents didn’t know anything was going on or were trying to help, you assume he came to hurt others, you assume there are accomplices the police haven’t released information about. Half of this post is assumptions. Not discussion on what could create helpful dialog between school, parents and community services.

        I guess part of me wonders why you jump to these assumptions and not assume that this was a young man in distress, who tragically took his own life, and now his family and community deserve to mourn. Will the powers that be do their job? I believe they will. We don’t see suicides generally ‘covered up’. You know what we see covered up by schools constantly? Bullying.

        All we do know is this young man was a victim (not “victim”) of suicide. His family, no matter the other extenuating circumstances, is mourning the loss of someone they loved. There is nothing else currently. There is no proof to say anything other. Obviously there is still a lot to be known but I’d rather let the people on the ground do that work then the people on the internet. Discussion? Sure. Assumptions? No.

        It would be one thing to bring up this incident and segue into a discussion about what we as parent want from schools and law enforcement. Rehashing rumors is not that though. It is sensationalism that damages and hurts those who may be involved.

        • What if the child got the gun from a friend? Wouldn’t that be cause for concern as well? I would want that situation investigated thoroughly as well. If that was the case and there is another student with access to a gun then they need to be investigated as well. As a parent I would want to know that there is another student attending the school my child is attending that not only has access to guns but lends them to friends who are obviously going to cause harm to themselves or others.

          Although kids are not completely under the control of their parents, they are their responsibility! Parents need to be aware of what is going on in their children’s lives and when something isn’t right they need to be concerned.

          Compared to cities like Chicago, Cedar Rapids is a small town. The crime rate here is low compared to the rest of the country and the information given to the people of the area is a small amount of what is actually going on. In the big cities they spread the news of every crime that takes places and the media covers all of the stories until every question has been answered. It is almost impossible to find out what is going on in this area and I think that needs to change.

          I don’t think the news media should report assumptions because as journalists they are supposed to keep their own opinions out of their reporting. When I write for certain news sites I also follow the same guidelines but this is my blog and my readers are happy to hear my opinions. I never stated anything as fact that isn’t and I thoroughly explained that everything is assumed. I felt that information was pertinent to the story and still do. I think in order for parents to put themselves in this situation and really comment on how they would react if this were their children’s school, I needed to share all of the information I had.

          As a human that has unfortunately not been blessed with psychic abilities I am forced to constantly assume outcomes of situations as most humans do. Making assumptions helps us plan as well as prevent outcomes of our everyday lives and in cases like this making an assumption could save lives.

          Bottom line…The school, police, and media should let the parents of students attending the school know everything about the situation. Especially when there is a youtube account with several videos about school shootings, a profile picture of another school shooter, a friends list of other school shooting enthusiasts, and one video that shows a walkthrough of the school he killed himself at just one day before it happened. If this is not his account then there definitely needs to be more investigation. Parents need to demand answers, they should be afraid to send their kids to that school because one of their students is obsessed with school shootings and videotaping other students who may be targets.

          It isn’t sensationalism when the situation itself is disturbing, no need to beef up the details to get some clickthroughs, the youtube channel is plenty scary upon clicking through to watch a video or read a few comments.

  12. This is such an important issue that we really have to discuss with the school especially since this has been happening so many times. I fear for my children’s safety and I would normally ask about these as much as I can. I would appreciate it if the school updated me, not to cause any panic but to put your mind at ease, at least.

    • I agree. Right now a lot of parents and students are concerned about the possibility of other students being involved. I think everyone should be informed of any information the school has at this point.

  13. Jessica Baasch says:

    Last year my son was interrogated by the administrators of his school because a friend of his did not show up to school that day and the parents had no idea where the child was. The children were 11 years old and they questioned my son about his after school activities dealing with this specific classmate. The school never notified me and my son said he felt like they were blaming him for her absence. Again the school never notified me. I did not find out until my son told me why he was so shaken up when he got home from school. I called the school and flipped out. They told me that because they couldn’t give me any information about the missing child they couldn’t call me about interrogating my child. I said stuff like in our defense it wasn’t an interrogation we just asked him a few questions. Am I the only one who thinks that asking questions is interrogating somebody especially when that person then feels like you are trying to blame them? In the end the child was found she decided to skip school and meet up with some other friends and my child had no knowledge of it, what was interrogated for it and did not have a parent present nor did a parent know about it until after the fact. I think if it has anything to do with your child or your child’s safety that is outside of the realm of normalcy in a school the parents should definitely be notified, with as much information that the school can give or they should be held accountable for neglect.

    • Hi Jessica! Thank you for sharing your opinion. That sounds like a scary situation. I would be upset as well if I wasn’t notified about my child being questioned and being left to felt like they were guilty of something they in fact had nothing to do with.

      I really believe that with all of the access to social media and constant updates that the schools have a responsibility to keep parents informed with no reason not to.

      If a child is missing regardless of how it turns out it would only help to spread the news and let parents know of the situation instead of scaring a young child into ultimately giving them no help anyway.
      I am sorry this has happened to your son and I hope that the parents of the child who skipped school let that serve as a wakeup call and are now keeping a closer eye on their whereabouts.

  14. This is such a serious situation, and one that we really need to address. Parents should not have to fear to send their kids to school. This whole thing is just so sad.

    • I agree and I think if the school was more forthcoming with information parents would believe that they are aware of the dangers that may happen and would feel safer with the staff being responsible in case the worst were to happen.

  15. I personally would like to know if there was any kind of occurrence in the school that could’ve harmed my children. The more open the school is, the better the parents would feel.

  16. This is indeed a scary situation for the students and their parents. I worry about this everyday. My son and my niece attend university but their campus has a hospital and a big cathedral which is open to the public. I only hope that despite the open gates, people would still be vigilant in spotting “threats.” I also think that social media would not at all help troubled teens/youngsters with thoughtless comments. As parents, we must always have an open line of communication with our children to learn if they are suffering from any form of anxiety or depression.

  17. Parents should always be told if something were going to happen but didn’t. I would have wanted to know about this incident.

  18. As a parent I think the schools should inform me (and all other parents) about anything like this. It should be made known so parents can talk to their kids about it even if the plan wasn’t followed thru

  19. Christina Aliperti says:

    I think they need to take this more seriously and find out all of the truth. You can’t be too safe when it comes to protecting the children.

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