HOUSTON, Texas - Four Houston area schools have had a drop in attendance. The reason they claim is an increase in social media threats and lockdowns this year.
Aldine, Dickinson, Galena Park, and Humble ISD are among 17 districts state-wide that have been granted waivers from the Texas Education Agency for a 10% drop in attendance compared to last year. However, parents we spoke with are standing their ground. If the administrations do not shape up to keep the schools safe, they will hold their children from attending school.
"You lose sleep, you stress, you don’t focus and concentrate the next day because you’re so worried about if something is going to really happen to your child at school," says Spencer Hatten, a father of three children, all students in Houston Independent School District.
He says he wants more transparency from school administrators when it comes to safety. Dr. Leslie Crossman is a psychologist, and she says she understands parents concerns, but that keep kids from school is not the way to handle the situation.
“Often times things on social media are not necessarily accurate. Sometimes people make threats that are not always a legitimate threat. So they’re interfering with their child’s schooling," says Dr. Crossman.
She also says it’s not just their education we should be concerned about, but also their mental health.
“In terms of going to school and always having to be aware of you know potential threats or you know threats of harm. It kind of keeps it more in the back of their mind, and so they’re more anxious, but then it could also sometimes when it happens frequently it could lead to more of a sense of not taking things seriously," says Crossman.
A majority of the threats that come in an usually false, but parents just aren’t willing to take that chance.
“I’m not going to take a chance because if I take one chance and that could be the last chance I get to see my daughter come home," says Hatten.
Dr. Crossman says the best thing parents and students can do is to report any threats that they see or hear to school administrators. However, it seems until the threats and lockdowns stop, parents will not be sending their kids to school.