Superintendent Letter: SCS Security Update
I wanted to share some information with you regarding yesterday’s incident, next steps, and a more comprehensive update on school safety and security. I apologize in advance for the lengthiness of the information, but I want to be as thorough as possible.
Regarding yesterday’s incident, a number of you have posed questions and expressed concerns about the disciplinary actions that we take when a student makes a threat against students or the schools, or otherwise creates an unsafe situation within the schools, as was the case yesterday. While there are legal restrictions on what we can discuss in these regards, I believe that a balance must be struck between the legal/privacy rights of an individual, the safety and security needs of our students and staff, and the needed peace of mind of our parents and community. With this in mind, we have begun the disciplinary process on yesterday’s incident in line with our policy and state law and regulation.
Based on our policy and the “minimum periods of suspension” required, any student who chooses to pose a threat to our students, staff, property/facilities; who chooses to act violently against our students, staff, property/facilities; or otherwise chooses to significantly disrupt the educational processes of our students and staff (amongst other offenses) will face immediate suspension by the building principal of up to five (5) days. We then determine if additional suspension is needed and, if so, hold a “Superintendent Hearing” to make this decision. In addition to further suspension, we also decide if additional support services (e.g., mental health counseling) are necessary to ensure that our students are still afforded the opportunity to learn and improve. As each case has a unique set of facts associated with it, it is rare for two situations to be handled identically. As frustrating as this process may be at times, it is the process that we must legally and rightly follow. Separate from our disciplinary processes, when students make some of the choices noted above that are in violation of law, law enforcement may make criminal charges up to, and including felony charges.
Regarding the safety and security measures that we have taken and are taking, please see the attached summary letter and the more detailed update that spells out many of these steps. Please be assured that with the lessons learned from yesterday’s incident, additional steps will be taken, including the refining of our plans, protocols, and trainings.
I would be remiss if I did not again highlight that yesterday’s incident came to closure because a student immediately reported the presence of a bullet to the principal; a teacher reported critical information about the student involved to a school counselor; our faculty and staff responded remarkably throughout the emergency period; our kids were excellent throughout the day; law enforcement worked efficiently, professionally, and with great expertise; our newly installed camera system gave us the observation capacity needed; and our parents, as trying as it must have been, followed our requests to not come to the schools. Again, while we learned great number of lessons yesterday that we will apply moving forward, I am very pleased with how everyone responded.
My continued thanks and appreciation to all who have communicated with us over the past few weeks with constructive suggestions and observations.
I wish you all a restful and relaxing weekend.