For the Best

For the Best

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

For the Best

It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.

Moliere

It was two days after the tragic school shooting in Colorado, and I was feeling bad about what had happened to the students there. My school began having a lot of bomb threats and it seemed that police cars were there often. I was standing with my friend, Amberly, and her boyfriend when he casually said, “I’m gonna blow up the school and kill everyone.” I asked, “Why would you want to do that?” and he said, “I just do,” and walked away.

I was scared because no one had ever said anything like that to me before. I found out when talking to other friends that he also bragged about this to other people. My friends told me that I should tell an adult what he had said, but I was too scared and I made them promise not to tell anyone either.

One day, Amberly and I were talking about what he had said when the teacher overheard our conversation. She took me out into the hallway and made me tell her who had said it and what they had said. At first, I refused to say a word. She told me it really was for the best, so I told her. I felt awful for doing it. I was angry with her for making me tell who said it. I wasn’t sure he really meant it and didn’t want him to get into trouble.

He got suspended for two days and had two days of in-school detention after that. I sometimes wonder if I had not told, would he have done what he said he was going to do? The guys in Colorado seemed pretty normal to a lot of people. The bottom line is, you should never joke around about something as serious as killing people. If you do, responsible people have no choice but to have you checked out to ensure everyone else’s safety.

After he was suspended, the whole sixth grade had an assembly. The principal and counselors told the students that there was a kid who was making threats and that he was suspended. I decided later to tell him that it was me who told on him so he wouldn’t speculate about who did it. I was surprised to find that he was not angry with me for doing what I did. He was able to get help for his feelings and behavior.

Many people are in the same situation that I was in. If your friend is saying threatening stuff like my friend was, then they obviously need help—soon. It seems like when one school shooting happens, then another one occurs not too long after that. If there were any way that you could prevent one school shooting it could perhaps save your own life and many others as well. If I had to do it over again, I would—because it really was for the best.

April Townsend, twelve

[EDITORS’ NOTE: If you are aware of dangerous or illegal activity that has happened or is going to happen at your school, tell this information to a trusted adult, or in case of an emergency, call 911. If you would like information on starting a student-led safe school initiative (S.A.V.E. chapter) contact the Center for the Prevention of School Violence at www.ncsu.edu/cpsv/. If you would like to report your concerns about an act or potential act of violence, contact WAVE America [Working Against Violence Everywhere] at www.waveamerica.com. You do not have to give your name.]

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