WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Once word spread Tuesday about a letter threatening to physically harm elementary school children in Warwick, Cranston and Johnston, parents in those communities and beyond were left with one inevitable question – should I send my child to school or not?
Despite increased police presence, there was still an uneasiness among parents. An uneasiness with which Christine Wilford of Newtown, Connecticut is all too familiar.
Her son was at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012 when an armed gunman went on a shooting rampage at the school. Wilford’s son was physically unharmed, but 20 of his fellow students and six adults were killed.
Wilford lived in Providence before moving to Newtown, and still has a business and many friends in Rhode Island. So, when she found out about the threats made against students, she wrote a message on Facebook to help comfort her friends, many of whom were worried about what to tell their kids about police officers stationed at school.
“My kids go to school with police officers everyday. I promise the police will make it OK for the kids. They will put the kids at ease,” said Wilford, who added that Sandy Hook still receives threats on a regular basis. “I have come to the conclusion, and come to accept, that there is only so much I can do. I want to do everything I can to protect my children, but I cannot make them live under a rock.”
Her words resonated well beyond her closest circles. As of Wednesday afternoon, the post was shared more than 425 times and received more than 630 likes.
For those who chose to not to send their child to school, Wilford also had words of encouragement.
“I don’t blame you or fault you if you keep your child home,” Wilford wrote. “I just want you to know that I understand the uneasy feeling of sending your kids off to school when there is a threat against them. I’ve done it everyday since 12/14. But each each day, we put on our brave face and smile and send our kids off to school.”
Wilford’s complete FB post is below: