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Terror tactics don’t achieve desired results

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Added: Mon, 12/07/2015 - 11:05pm
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At the beginning of November, over 70 schools in the Outaouais and Ottawa were evacuated after they received a threatening message, signed by a party identifying itself as the “Red Sceptre”, which spoke out against the actions of unionized teachers
in Quebec and Ontario and threatened to bomb schools, CEGEPs and buses if
negotiations were not reached with the
government to end the striking.
Surprisingly, the culprit was not an angry, deranged, mad-man many of us had
envisioned. Instead, four teenagers between 16 and 17 years old were charged, which is much more troubling. Our children are our future; we expect them to make better choices in order to make the earth a better place to live.
Aside from tax payers’ dollars wasted in performing the evacuations and searches, countless parents were forced to leave work to pick up their children from school – often losing wages – and students lost time that could have been devoted to their studies; this doesn’t even include the stress and fear parents, teachers, students and community members experienced.
The teens’ most recent court date was November 26. Originally charged with
mischief, the youths now face additional charges for uttering threats, intent to injury, and conspiracy.
So, who is to blame? Parents, school, the media, videogames, our violent society?
Assigning blame rarely finds a solution; the more important question is how the issue can be addressed and prevented from happening again. Perhaps the problem
lies not in what our children are exposed
to, but rather a gap in conversation and
discussion, which could lead to a broader
understanding of the issues.
Unfortunately, we can’t prevent tragedies from occurring – like the recent terrorist attacks in Paris – and we can’t ensure our children are not exposed to
violence in some form. But when tragedies do occur, we shouldn’t attempt to shield our children from them either; they need to be used as ‘teachable moments’ and we need to ensure children are downloading the right message from them.
Our youth need to know that bomb threats, terrorist attacks, school shootings, assaults, etc. are not appropriate pressure tactics to get what one wants, nor are they appropriate ways to make a statement, to seek revenge, to be honoured, or to get attention – and they are certainly not a joke or a prank! To assume they know and understand is not enough!
In addition to knowing a particular behaviour is wrong, they also need to be aware of how their choices will affect themselves, the ‘targets’ and society as a whole, and they need to be informed of other ways the situation could have been better
handled – ideally using examples of how other people have dealt with similar situations. Educators need to be doing the same.
These are the first steps needed to
prevent something like this from happening again.
Allyson Beauregard, Editor