Letter | District putting parents on Need-to- know basis, Time for Change – Vote Melissa Johnson for School Board

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, October 3rd, a rumor that had been circulating for weeks among Twin Falls Middle School students came to the attention of a handful of parents. This rumor was that a student had voiced plans to bring a gun to school and shoot kids. That evening, several calls were placed to the TFMS administration as well as the King County Sheriff. Students at Twin Falls confirmed that some of their teachers had addressed this rumor in class. At this time, parents had no official information or communication.

At 11:33pm that evening, the TFMS principal emailed parents to inform them that a “rumor investigated this evening” was confirmed by police to have “no threat to TFMS.” The email informed parents that both Snoqualmie PD and the King County Sheriff’s Office were involved, and that Snoqualmie officers would be “present” at school the following morning (Wednesday, October 4th ). No mention of gun violence was included in this email.

Many parents, including myself, did not see this email prior to sending their child to school the morning of October 4th. No follow-up communication of any kind on this topic was sent to parents from TFMS, and no communication AT ALL was sent to parents from the district office.

Our local police departments have the responsibility to thoroughly investigate any threat of violence in our schools, and I’d like to extend my gratitude since they seemingly did so very effectively. Additionally, our school district administration has the responsibility to effectively and thoroughly communicate a threat of violence in our schools to parents; regardless of the outcome of a police investigation. The district failed to fulfill this responsibility and as a result, I did not have the information I needed to make an informed decision for my child. This is unacceptable to me.

Bottom line: policy regarding adequate communication to parents should be the highest priority of our district, especially when it comes to safety, whether rumor or truth.

It is clearly time for a change… for an improved school board that will enact better policy for our administration to follow and effectively respond to and deal with these types of situations in the future.

I will be voting for Melissa Johnson for School Board. I know she will advocate for both parents, and most importantly for students. I have known Melissa for several years and I am more than confident that she will always put students first and work relentlessly to improve transparency and processes within our district.

Thank you,

Jennifer Simon, Snoqualmie parent

 

Comments

  1. Melissa Johnson says:

    Thanks for your support Jennifer. The district has the responsibility to our students and parents to have a communicated policy in place that effectively addresses these types of events. I am absolutely committed to work on an effective policy that includes an established step-by-step process, lining out how the district will ensure that our kids are safe at school during a threat of this type and also how and what they will communicate to parents and students when such an event occurs. If there is a process in place, it needs a great deal of work and has not been communicated which is just as problematic.

    • The letter isn’t about an event, it’s about a rumor. I’m OK with rumors being validated prior to communication which is what happened in this case. Your commentary is fairly unclear of what circumstance you want addressed, investigated and substantiated threats or uninvestigated and unsubstantiated threats. I won’t pretend to speak for all, because I know I don’t and I won’t have a popular opinion, but I’d rather focus on whats real and probable vs. what’s rumor.

      Expecting formal and near real time communication of a rumor isn’t reasonable or responsible…although not surprising in the era of twitter, facebook and snapchat.

    • As I understand this letter Ms Simon (and Ms Johnson) believe there should be a change in the school board because the district did not call people in the middle of the night to tell them everything was fine and they could go back to sleep. It seems to me that the district made the appropriate decision on this email. Wake me up when there’s something I need to worry about.

      Steve Huestis
      Twin Falls parent

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