Parent Letter - Lakeview Safety 3/9/18

Lakeview Parents,


I am writing as a follow up to yesterday’s email to provide additional details regarding a threat made by a student at Lakeview Jr. High this week.  We want our parents to understand that Lakeview is, and has been, safe for students and staff this week. What follows is a brief summary of an incident that has become the topic of discussion by parents and students this week.  Due to State and federal student privacy laws, please understand that we cannot discuss specific students or student discipline outcomes with the general public.


The incident we are currently dealing with began with a student making an “off the cuff” comment, that was directed to a particular student earlier this week and was perceived by that student as threatening.  This comment was reported to the teacher, who then immediately contacted the principal. A thorough investigation was completed, in conjunction with local law enforcement. It was determined that there was no real threat to the school or individual students.  However, although there was no danger to any student or staff, the student was disciplined for the disruption caused by making the inappropriate comment. Pre-adolescent students are prone to demonstrating poor judgment and impulse control from time to time and we typically address such incidents with the student and the parents.  However, we are always vigilant for more serious incidents, and we will intervene more extensively, for example by working with local law enforcement, when we encounter something that could be a significant threat to student safety.


The issues that we were dealing with yesterday and today are related to inaccurate statements made by students via the rumor mill stemming from the original incident.  Unfortunately, after the original incident, a few students exaggerated the situation and then texted and/or posted inaccurate or untruthful statements to each other about the student.  This misinformation has since been shared and posted by many others, leading to even greater distortions of the facts. Most concerning now are some postings on social media that are not only untrue, but also potentially very hurtful.  This downward spiral needs to stop because the inaccurate stories are now more frightening to our students than what actually transpired. We ask everyone to please reflect on whether your use of social media in connection with this incident reflects how you would want others to act if your child was the subject of the posts.  


To help our students move forward in a productive manner, Mr. Windsor met with all students this afternoon to clarify what did and did not happen.  He also discussed the way students should respond to threats and rumors. In order to truly have this message “hit home” for our students, we are asking our parents to talk with their children about this situation and to review their social media postings with them.  


This is a teachable moment for our students.  There is an opportunity to reinforce for our students, particularly in a time of widespread misinformation, to stop and think about the information they receive, to seek verification about what is and is not true, and to immediately report all potential threats to school staff, parents, and/or law enforcement, and not just pass along rumors to friends. Please do not let this moment pass without knowing how much we appreciate the home/school partnership we have in District 66 and thank you for ALL you do to raise the great students you send us every day.

Sincerely,

Tim Arnold, Ph.D.
Superintendent