Welcome to a special edition of the CSCSHC Community Newsletter focused on school safety. After a significant number of rumors and questions surrounding this week's investigations at New Palestine High School, the district would like to have a conversation with all of our parents about our role, your role, and your students' roles in school safety and security.
Message from the Superintendent
As we wind down the calendar year, I want to wish everyone a safe, and peaceful holiday season. As the new year approaches, it is a time for reflection and setting goals for the future. As I reflect over the events of the past couple of days, I am very thankful and appreciative of our staff, administrators, and law enforcement partners. Our staff are diligently vigil in keeping the students and each other safe. They continuously monitor and report rumors while supporting students each day. Our administrators and law enforcement actively investigate each social media post, comment, and all bullying reports. Our students know to go to an adult in the school with concerns and rumors. For all of this I am very proud and appreciative of their good work.
Our goal is to keep parents and community members informed of activities, events, and concerns in a timely and transparent manner. Our administrators, teachers, and Director of School Community Relations talk daily with parents, sends out all types of information and work to keep everyone informed. Please know that we will communicate in a timely manner. If you want the information, the accurate information, you will be able to get it from our social media sites, school newsletters, and personal emails or calls with our administrators. That being said, we will not discuss your child with another parent or in an open forum such as social media. Our goal is to support your child and work with you, the parent. Together, we can help your child grow into a responsible adult. I am sure that many of you share my relief that social media was not around when we were children. I was allowed to make mistakes and learn from them without fear of my name and reputation being on social media forever.
Thank you for trusting us with your children. We take that trust very seriously and work daily to maintain that trust. We will take care of your child while at school. There may be situations that you will need to trust that we have the situation under control. It is during those times, that your need to know may conflict with our need to investigate and gather accurate information. I ask that you believe and trust that our local law enforcement officials and all of our school personnel will do what we need to do to first, keep your child safe and second, communicate with you. Our first priority is always the students and their safety. I will also ask that you seek your information from us not social media. Social media speculation actually inhibits our ability to investigate and communicate.
As we look to the New Year, our goal continues to be focused on supporting and educating the students of Southern Hancock. I wish you peace and grace during this Christmas and Holiday season.
- Dr. Lisa Lantrip
Message from NPHS Principal Keith Fessler
I would also like to thank our hard-working staff, students, our law enforcement partners for everything they did this week.
When we are notified of possible threats to student safety, we work with law enforcement to fully investigate. In this case, while there were numerous rumors, we found no evidence of an actual threat.
We always make student safety our top priority and we will continue to do so. Although no threat was found, we understand that many students were, and continue to be, affected by the situation. Students can talk to any counselor or administrator about their concerns. We're happy to help in any way we can.
If you or your student sees or hears something that an administrator may need to know about, please tell one of us in person or use the "Report a Bully" form on the school website to notify us instantly.
Keith Fessler, NPHS Principal
Parent Notification Guidelines for Threats
In the interest of being as transparent as possible with our parents about why and when the district will send notifications regarding threats, please see the below guidelines. A reported threat becomes one of three things:
1) A false report. In this instance, a student, parent, or community member may report a potential threat. Upon investigation by law enforcement and administrators, it is determined that no threat was ever made. In most situations, the district will not notify parents in this instance.
2) A non-credible threat. While the term non-credible can mean a number of different things, it generally means that law enforcement and administrators have determined that some nature of threat was discovered or could not be discounted, however there is no possible way that the threat in question could actually occur. As was the case this week, parents are notified via email and the district's Facebook and Twitter profiles. There is no additional risk or danger to students from a non-credible threat and school will continue as normal.
3) A credible threat. This means there is evidence the source of the threat has the intent, means, or both to carry out the threat. The district will immediately notify in this instance via email, phone call, text messages and the previously mentioned social media accounts. If such a threat were to occur during the school day, it is critically important that parents NOT come to the building in question. Law enforcement and other first responders may need free access to our campuses and surrounding roads. If such a threat were to occur, additional messages will be sent once a determination has been made how and where parents will pick up their students. If this were ever to happen at Southern Hancock, we want you to know that you MUST bring a government ID to pick up your student and we will ONLY release students to the contacts listed in their PowerSchool accounts.
Updating your PowerSchool Account
In order to receive email notifications, you must have your email address listed with the rest of your child's emergency contact information. Having an email address in your parent profile does NOT mean you will receive emails. Mailings are only sent to student's contacts.
If you have your email address listed in your student's parent contact information and still did not receive this week's notifications, please contact Community Relations Director Wes Anderson at email@example.com.
As was said above, it is important make sure that your student's contact information is up to date in the event the district would ever need to attempt to reunify students and parents during an incident.
IN Department of Education Safety Audit
As a result of new legislation passed earlier this year, all Indiana schools are now required by law to submit to an audit of their district-wide and building-level safety plans.
CSCSHC and the DOE completed this audit earlier this week. We are happy to announce that all of our safety plans are compliant with the DOE's regulations. If you are interested in learning more about what goes into a safety audit and how a district can become compliant, please download this checklist from the DOE.
Have any additional safety questions or concerns about our schools? Email our Community Relations Director Wes Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director of Safety Miles Hercamp at email@example.com.