Superintendent Letter to Parents on School Safety
February 19, 2018
Our prayers go out to the families devastated by the recent acts of violence that have taken place in some of our nation’s schools. Such horrific acts can instill concern, confusion, and fear in all of us, especially our students. We have counselors available in all of our schools to help your children if they are struggling to cope.
It is understandable during such times as these that parents may become more concerned about the safety measures within our schools. Please know that school safety – keeping our students, faculty, staff, and administrators safe – is our top priority. I want to reassure you that we work hand-in-hand with the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department to keep our students and schools safe.
In our meeting with the police this morning, we discussed how now more than ever, it is extremely important for parents to closely monitor their children’s internet and social media use.
We need your help with the following:
- Please talk with your children about their social media use and encourage them to share with you any posting that would be of concern, so we and the police can investigate the concern.
- Please stress how important it is that your child does not forward a concerning social media post, text, email, etc. with other children and parents, but instead immediately report this to their parents, a teacher, a school administrator, or a School Resource Officer. When potentially concerning messages are forwarded to other children and parents, we receive multiple reports from parents and students that are similar. However, we and the police have to investigate each report of a concern as a potentially different concern until we can determine otherwise. We want to be able to focus our limited resources on what really are potentially new concerns, but we can’t assume anything.
- Please gather as much information as you can from your child what they heard or saw to include:
- A screenshot or photo of the concerning message/photo,
- Who was the source of the message or statement of concern – who did your child hear say this or from whom did your child receive the social media message?
- Was our school or school district specifically mentioned?
- What was the wording of the statement or message that is cause for concern?
If you have a school safety-related question or concern, please call our school administrators or me to discuss your concern, instead of posting it to social media sites. We do not have the resources to monitor the numerous social media sites our parents frequent. Some sites do a better job than others at moderating the information posted, but there is a lot of incorrect information and opinions presented as facts available on many social media.
A School Resource Officer and I will be meeting with all students in grades 5 through 12 this week to discuss many of the items I mentioned above and to stress the importance of reporting concerns to adults and to stop the spread of rumors by not forwarding concerning messages to others.
We continually evaluate and assess our safety measures with the assistance of the police. We also make adjustments as needed to improve the safety of our schools and operations. Our schools do practice lock down drills and other safety drills to help prepare our faculty, staff, administrators and students on how to respond in an emergency. District staff and our School Resource Officers attend special training seminars on school safety issues. We also participate in school safety training exercises that are available to us.
The Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department continues to be invaluable partners in our school safety measures and initiatives. We are very fortunate to have their police expertise available to use daily in our schools and after hours whenever we need their support and assistance. They take our school safety very seriously.
My Cabinet and I continually monitor events of concern across the nation. I can assure you that I will make any adjustments to our safety measures that are necessary to keep our students and schools safe, as we learn from these terrible tragedies with the hope and determination to prevent this from happening again.
I am proud of the support our parents continue to provide to us. Our parents, students, and employees are important partners in our school safety efforts. I ask that you continue to be our eyes and ears in the community and on student social media sites. Please continue to keep us informed of any concerning statements being posted or shared that could impact our school safety.
Also, if you know of a student who is hurting or struggling, please let us know so we can intervene early and provide assistance.
Thank you for your continued support.
Dr. Elizabeth Robison
Superintendent of Schools