In Regards to Threats in Schools
Debbie Stephens
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In Regards to Threats in Schools

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

It is our goal to give each student the most rigorous education possible to prepare them to be productive citizens and life-long learners. The framework we have in place to achieve this goal includes a safe learning environment that is free from fear. This framework sets your child’s safety firmly as our first priority.

We have been overwhelmed with compassion for the schools touched by the recent school tragedies and, with heightened anxiety, we are re-evaluating, reviewing and updating our safety plans and procedures.  Our school principals and teachers have taken the lead in making every effort to help our students feel safe.  We have reviewed and practiced procedures to enact in the event of a hostage/intruder situation.  We have held staff meetings to discuss ways to enhance the safety measures already in place and to devise new safety measures.  We have initiated partnerships with law enforcement, including providing a means for law enforcement officers to remotely access our security camera system so that they can see what is going on inside our school building before they actually enter the premises.

We are working hard to ensure the safety of our students, but we need your help as parents and guardians. We need you to help us stop our students or others from threatening our school safety.  Know what your child is posting on social media.  Make them aware that there is no such thing as an anonymous post and that law enforcement officials can track down threats made on apps such as SnapChat.  Remind them that any threat to our school will be taken seriously and that we (the school district) will use any and every resource available to us to identify and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.  Even if a student only “forwards” a pre-existing picture/video that is meant to create or escalate fear in others, it is still a felony.  Make sure that they know that the excuse, “It was only a joke” will not work.

We have already taken the step of talking with students and explaining to them that all threats will be taken seriously. Just like planning to take an airplane flight, if you want the service of flying on the airplane you don’t talk about weapons, threaten about a weapon or try to sneak one onto the plane. If you do, you will not be provided the service of flying.  Likewise, if a student chooses to write an online threat, leave a threatening note or threaten school in any way, we will investigate by using every means available to us, identify the perpetrator and prosecute the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law.  And, just as with airplanes and flying, anyone who makes a threat against our school will forfeit the right to attend it.  That is, if the student should ever desire to continue their schooling in our school district, it will likely be at an alternative location.  Moreover, there will be no extra-curricular activities, such as ball games, proms, or club activities.  In summary, their lives will change drastically and our school will stay the safe place it is today.

When we work together, all things are possible for your children/our students. Remember, our door is always open for you and our contact number is 738-8002.

 Respectfully,

Debbie Stephens, Superintendent

Elliott County Schools