At the end of the 2012-2013 school year, the strong and trusting relationship that Leslie Templeton had built with her 17 year old son, a student at West Albany High School, saved the community of Albany, Oregon from tragedy. Below is a story from the Samaritan Health Services, “Well Informed Employee Newsletter” about the events that led to Leslie informing the police that a classmate of her son’s was potentially going to attack West Albany High School. We applaud you, Leslie, you are a role model to all parents!
NURSE’S THOUGHTFUL PARENTING HELPS PREVENT TRAGEDY
When Leslie Templeton’s son came home from school one week in May, the mother of two followed her usual routine of asking her son how his day was and what he and his friends were up to at school.
Templeton, a nurse at Good Sam, was caught off guard when her son, a 17-year-old junior at West Albany High School, was hesitant to share details and became increasingly agitated by his mother’s curiosity.
“It was only after much insistence on my part and assuring him that whatever was bothering him, we would just deal with it, did he finally tell me of his concerns,” recalled Templeton.
After some comforting reassurance and a lengthy conversation, Templeton learned that her son, Truman, knew of a classmate who had crafted plans to possibly attack his school.
“I hugged him and thanked him for telling me,” said Templeton, “I told him I knew how hard that was for him, that he did the right thing, and that he no longer had to carry that with him. I reassured him that his father and I would take care of the rest and make sure the information got to the right people.”
Templeton and her husband immediately followed up on her promise and reported what her son knew to local law enforcement. Her attentive parenting and her son’s honesty prevented what could have been a deadly crisis that would have shaken the community forever.
Templeton, who describes her relationship with her sons as open, honest and mature, credits her family’s cohesive communication as the reason she recognized the red flags that evening.
“As our kids get older, they get busier,” explained Templeton, “I know it sounds cliché, but have dinner together as often as possible and spend that few minutes talking every day. Let your kids know that you are there to listen, and encourage them to follow their gut; if something seems wrong, tell someone. Remind them that they should never be afraid to do the right thing, and hug them every day.”
“What I assumed was a normal child-parent interaction is actually somewhat extraordinary. I think the true message in this near tragedy is that parents need to stay involved in their kid’s lives even after they’ve started to pull away. I am more than happy to be a good example of that.” ~Leslie Templeton