Dear Annie: I am an elementary school teacher. This year I have two 7-year-old students with major behavior issues. Both of them have threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot me and their classmates. As shocking as it is to hear this from such young children, the response from the people in charge is worse.
I reported these threats multiple times, and nothing has been done. No one has even spoken to the boys about their behavior. I was told the kids are young and most likely don’t have access to guns. Yet these kids have older siblings who can obtain guns for them.
In light of current events, I take these threats seriously. I’ve spoken to the principal, vice-principal, school social workers and the boys’ parents. They all tell me I need to “focus on the positive things the kids do.”
Am I crazy, or are they? What should I do? Quitting my job is not an option.
— Worried Teacher
Dear Teacher: While it is not uncommon for young children to make such threats, they normally do not follow through. However, there is a slim possibility that one of these boys will bring a weapon to school and attempt to use it, especially if he hears news reports about other school shootings.
The bigger problem is the “major behavior issues.” We realize you are fearful, but an alarmed approach is not productive. Are these boys receiving any kind of ongoing counseling or assistance? Perhaps if you approach this as a way to help the children develop better coping skills, the school will address it more directly and effectively.
Dear Annie: Please let your readers know of an easy way to support our troops. When buying a new cellphone, donate your old one to the nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers through cellphonesforsoldiers.com.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass., when they were 12 and 13 years old. The organization converts proceeds from used cellphones into prepaid phone cards for our troops overseas. They have donated more than 181 million minutes to our troops, many of whom could not otherwise afford to call home. Please support those individuals who support our country.
— Bay St. Louis
Dear Bay St. Louis: Thank you for mentioning this very worthwhile organization. We hope our readers will keep it in mind when getting a new cellphone.
Dear Annie: I was perplexed by the recent letter from “Mr. Manners” about bits of food that a diner drops on the plate. He expressed disgust that people pick up the bits with their fingertips, and you concurred that it was proper etiquette to use one’s knife to retrieve the droppings. I can display more grace picking up such bits with my fingertips than anyone can with forks and knives. And what about the centuries-old practice of sopping one’s bread in leftover juices?
However, my real question is: In the grand scheme of things, what difference does it make if a person picks up food bits with the fingers?
— Durant, Okla.
Dear Durant: You may have misunderstood the original letter. When eating peas and other small, hard-to-capture foods, it is best to get them onto one’s fork by using a knife or a piece of bread, rather than pushing them with one’s fingers. It’s unappetizing to watch someone use their fingers. And yes, you can sop bread in leftover juices, as long as you don’t make a slurpy mess of it.
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