Superintendent's Newsletter

There are times when issues can occur that create problems for our school, we had such an event occur to a junior high student that sent a shock wave of fear through our community.  We all want to think that something like a school shooting can not ever happen here and I pray that it won’t but we can’t predict the future to prevent horrible things like that.

First what everyone needs to know is that a student was threatened not the school.  His parents contacted law enforcement as well as Mr. Haken when he was made aware of this situation.  Our County Sheriff had in place for us armed deputies for the next several days and the Highway Patrol also helped out with their presence.  This is all we can do, which is our job, report to authorities and then allow them to do their job.

My question to our community and all others is, “What are we really willing to do to protect our students?"  We can’t cancel school with every threat or we may never have another day of school. Providing armed resource officers or teachers?  We can’t afford to have both so I’ve decided to share some of my ideas on how we can show that we will not tolerate this as a community.  Every school is having these conversations and nobody has asked their community for help and coule possibly be a huge deterrent.

I would like to invite all parents, neighbors, and friends to volunteer at the school to lend us more eyes and more adult bodies on campus.  Not only will it provide more security for our kids but may also deter any thoughts or plans of attempting such an act. I do realize that this will only be helpful if we know of a threat in advance but maybe this will replace the volunteer crossing guard that many PTA organizations have for their schools.  We must be willing to do this to show how we feel about our school and students' safety.

The biggest issue with finding out where this threat came from is dealing with the company/business that make and offer these apps that kids can use on their phones.  As of today we still do not know if a subpoena has been issued or carried out by the OSBI for SnapChat and Lipse. I want lawmakers to look at what 1st amendment rights are being violated when a threat is made to a student or a school.

Why do our kids need these types of apps on their phone?  If all they do is hide identities then how is that helpful to your child?  If bullying occurs through these types of platforms how is this beneficial to the mental well-being of our students.  We have created a venue for our kids to be mean to each other and our society has not demanded for this to change, but we can revolt by not allowing these apps on our kids’ phones.  

Parents need to control their kids’ phones now more than ever, and I will predict it will only get worse as technology improves. Parents must demand that any message that contains wording for these types of acts be reported and acted upon by the companies that provide these avenues of communication.  Due to the number of our school children that have been killed at schools, I do not know why this has not been voted on and approved across our nation. You know that big brother is watching if someone posts comments to harm our President. Our kids are as important to us as is the President to the USA so why can we not do more, demand more to protect the youngest and weakest of our citizens and make protecting our children one of the amendments of our constitution.  There is not one of us that would not do everything possible in our power to protect our own kids/home/family so why don’t we demand this monitoring and protection from the FCC and law enforcement.

Whose 1st Amendment rights are being violated if we are trying to protect our children and schools?  If all we are worried about are the companies that produce these apps then parents nationwide need to refuse to allow them on their kids’ phones, hurt them in their pocketbook.  Something along these lines has to occur in our nation to stop this type of threatening behavior in the name of anonymity. This, in my opinion created a riot and should not be tolerated.  What resources do we as educators have to combat this? It's a tough spot to be in. Yell “FIRE!” in a crowded movie house and someone can at least identify who said it, but send a threatening message via today’s technology and you are protected….what a system.

As a society I ask “what are we willing to do”?   

 

Jay Vernon

Superintendent