District Memo to Parents Regarding School Safety
March 8, 2018
Dear Hardeman County Parents:
Following recent events in Florida and around our nation, we all have experienced a wide range of emotions from shock and sorrow to anger that something like this could happen. Schools are a place where children should not be in fear of events such as happened at Columbine, Sandy Hook and now Parkland. Sadly, those represent only three of the many events that have occurred in schools across our country. The responsibility of keeping our schools safe rest with our entire community. In these times of heightened awareness, schools, parents, staff and the community at large must remain on watch in our safety efforts. We have many security measures in place in our schools across Hardeman County. Some are quite visible such as our School Resource Officers and secure entrance systems, while others are not as visible for obvious reasons. In addition, we have strong partnerships with the Hardeman County Sherriff’s Department and each municipal police departments. We work together to identify threats, investigate and address disturbing social media posts or comments made that could be perceived as a threat. Any threat made against any one of our schools – even those made “as a joke” – will have serious repercussions, including potential criminal charges and a possible recommendation for expulsion from school.
We do reinforce this message with students and we need your help at home as well. We all have a responsibility to treat information regarding school safety with caution; the oversharing of misinformation in most cases will create problems, not prevent them. We ask that any social media or other threats be reported directly to law enforcement and school officials, rather than shared through social media channels. Quite simply, if you “hear or see something, say something”. We also encourage parents and caregivers to monitor students' online activity and to employ these strategies:
- Know what websites and social media sites your child is using.
- Look at what they are posting and who they are following.
- Stress that making a threat is not to be taken lightly and that there are severe consequences.
- Talk with your child about recent local and national incidents.
- Explain that feelings such as sadness, anger, disappointment, and fear can be normal responses to tragedies for children and adults.
- Watch for changes in behavior and seek help if your child needs assistance dealing with anxiety or feeling safe. Contact your child's school and law enforcement if you believe your child is capable of making a threat and following through.
- Keep an open line of communication with your children and encourage them to tell you or another trusted adult if they become aware of a threat or rumor of violence.
Working together at school and at home, we will make a difference for our children and our community. You place your trust in us each and every day. As teachers, we have no greater responsibility than to provide the safest environment possible to our students where they can learn and grow, without carrying the weight of fear and anxiety on their shoulders. Thank you in advance for partnering with us in this important work and for your assistance in keeping our children and communities safe.Sincerely:
Director of Schools-Warner Ross, & Principals: BES-James Rutherford, BMS-Mary Polk, HES-Ted Kessler, TES-Chris Cranford, GJES-Linda Buggs, MES-Dorris Keller, WES- Cedric Crisp, MHS-Darlene Cardwell, BCHS-Jeff Barnes, HCLC-Thomas Polk.