The last few weeks have been trying times for school districts across the mid state and Nation. As you know, at HPSD we experienced a school safety threat and rumors of a threat. We are proud of our students for reporting concerns, and thankful to our local police department for immediately addressing the concerns.

The safety of students and staff will always be our single highest priority.We routinely review and revise our Incident Response Plan based on guidance from local and state law enforcement. We regularly review and practice safety drills with students. We have many supports and services for our students who may be experiencing barriers to their learning and well-being. However, there are societal issues that cannot be solved by schools alone. Thus, I am asking for your assistance with the following:

o Monitor your child(ren)’s social media accounts. Unfortunately this is necessary, especially now, given the rash of vaguely worded threats and/or rumors since the horrific Florida tragedy.

o Report suspicious behaviors and the source of any threat to the proper authorities immediately and encourage your children to do the same. Emphasize that it is OK to seek help for themselves or others. In fact, doing so aids the entire community in becoming more safe and secure.

o Talk with your children about civility and respectful listening . At school, we teach students to respectfully disagree when voicing their opinions and values.

As parents you are an integral figure in your child’s life and discussing the above topics with your son or daughter will help us work together to provide a safe learning environment. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal. Lastly, as Superintendents we continually receive and review resources and I am linking several documents from the American Psychological Association and National Association of School Psychologists for your perusal. Thank you for your continued support. Dr. John A. Scola

Related Links: Talking to your children about recent school shootings

In the aftermath of a shooting - Help your children manage distress

How to talk to children about difficult news

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers