Congratulations to Cade Breuker and Parker Dalson who were both awarded All-State honors in wrestling this weekend.
Tomorrow is Grey Day in celebration of the children who have beaten brain cancer and respect for those who continue the battle.
The message below is from me. It is not something that the School Board approved. It is simply something I started writing to help me process the issues occurring in our society. I will often write letters to various people and never send them. It helps me frame my thinking. I am choosing to release this one because I think it may help parents process school violence too.
We have become a nation focused on school safety. I am saddened it took another massacre to bring our nation into this emergency response but out of the horror will come some good. Our nations’ schools are rapidly reexamining emergency response protocols, improving communications with stakeholders and forging relationships with their area police departments.
I feel for all of the schools that have had to deal with threats recently. No response by the police and school will be sufficient to settle people’s fears. We are all so raw and exposed right now over the safety of our children that we immediately (and justifiably) respond. Because we are so aware of school safety, the media is covering every single “threat” that occurs. I just googled “threat in Michigan school” and had hundreds of news articles from the last two weeks. In reading some of the comments, I was surprised to see how many people were furious at the school for “allowing” whatever event it was to take place.
The fact is that schools can’t control what students do inside of the building let alone outside of the building (and especially on social media). I know that probably scares people but it is the truth. We do our very best to teach students how to interact with each other. We do our best to teach appropriate behavior and couple the instruction with clear expectations. We levy consequences for poor choices and we follow through with counselling for those who we believe need it. With all that being said, we still cannot control anybody. On the best of days, we have 45 people supervising and guiding 725 active teenagers. Any person, no matter their age, can make really poor decisions. Some have no idea what they are even saying until it comes out of their mouths or spills onto a computer screen. I’m not trying to make excuses for anybody that threatens violence, but we have to understand that these issues occur all around us because we work with an age group that is known for impulsivity. That is why there are so many news articles from the last two weeks.
When schools receive a building or student body threat they follow their protocols (an active shooter would have different protocols). If the school is in session, it involves alerting law enforcement, then staff who are emergency responders, then parents and then students. The idea is to secure students first as we wait for law enforcement to arrive. Because FPS is so close to the Fremont Police Department, we can move very quickly. Other schools are not that lucky. They may be waiting for 10 minutes for the first response. Each of our buildings can measure the PD response time in seconds.
If the threat occurs outside of the school day, we alert law enforcement immediately (or they alert us). The Superintendent is notified and then together, the Superintendent and the police departments enact a plan. That involves notifying parents of the situation and both the school’s and police department’s response. While the police sweep the building, they are also investigating the threat. At the same time, the school works with the police department to determine the day’s events and the days class schedule. In the vast majority of cases, the police have the suspect even before school begins. If that’s the case, the school usually continues with normal operations with a large police force.
I appreciate every student at Fremont High School. I think the world of each of them and want them to be safe. Our community is very fortunate to have such high-quality children who almost always think before they speak. I hope and pray we don’t have a threat issue, but we are prepared if we do.
It's A Great Day To Be A Packer!
Arbor Circle in Newaygo County: http://www.arborcircle.org/programs-services
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 24/7 trained support
Crisis Text Line for Teens Text "Listen" to 741-741 24/7 trained support
Please remember to remind your child to report any neglect or bullying they see.