Dear Mercer County Families:
As many of you are aware, there have been a large number of threatening posts to districts surrounding us and I have had many parents contact me to ask questions. Some of the threats have been posted on social media accounts and as they are shared, children and parents seeing these posts are concerned that the threats are directed towards Mercer County Schools. School administrators and I have learned that there is a Mercer County School located in West Virginia. We frequently get questions about posts related to this school.
We all appreciate the families and students that have notified the police and us when these posts are seen so we can address them and determine if they are threats towards our students. Over the past few weeks, the Mercer County teachers and administrators have talked with students about skills they can implement when responding in an emergency event. We have stressed to the children that the most effective way to keep our schools safe is to report information and “See Something, Say Something.” We have shared with students that if they see or hear something that makes them feel uncomfortable, nervous, or scared, to tell an adult. Reporting safety concerns is not the same as tattling or gossiping. I ask that you have this same type of conversation with your children at home. Let them know that if they have information about safety concerns to share it with an adult at school as soon as they become aware of it. Brainstorm with them the names of the adults they can talk with. If they do not feel comfortable talking to someone at school, let them know they can talk to you and you will let the police know and call us. Please let the children know if they receive a threat on social media or view a threat on someone else’s page, do not share it. Instead, as soon as they see the post, let you know immediately, report it to the police, and then to a school official. Sharing these types of posts make it difficult for law enforcement officials and can cause a panic to our community.
There have been some questions regarding the consequences for students making threats and will these students be back in school. If a student makes a threat against the school, they will be suspended from school and have an expulsion hearing. We also work with our SRO, Officer Morris, to file Terroristic Threatening charges on students.
I have received other questions regarding how we decide to send out letters and make One-Calls. We will notify you anytime we have a threat made against your child’s school. When we receive a threat during the school day, our first priority is making sure students are safe. Once we have ensured students’ safety, we start working on parent notification. We try to get this information to you as soon as we can but there are times when we have to post information to the school webpage and send home the letter the following day. When we send out One-Call alerts, the system sends out notices in stages so some members of a family may receive notice before others solely based on the volume of calls going out to families. In the event that we were to have an emergency that would require us to relocate your child, you would receive notification on where to meet your child using our One-Call Now system.
I appreciate those of you that have contacted me or other staff members with questions. I hope that I have been able to provide some clarification for you. If not, please call 859-733-7000.
Thank you for helping us to reinforce the message, “See Something, Say Something!”