February 22, 2013 – Mentor Schools’ three middle schools held assemblies Friday morning in response to threats of violence at each of the schools over the past week. Principals and assistant principals at Shore, Memorial and Ridge delivered strong messages to our students that such threats will not be tolerated, and those caught making threats will be punished to the furthest extent of policy. A similar announcement was also made at Mentor High School.
More specifically, students were warned that the furthest extent of punishment from the school district would mean expulsion for the incidents experienced this week. And, not only would there be serious consequences from the district, but the students who made these threats will also likely face criminal charges. Inducing panic, for example, is a second degree felony. (You can read an example of the message delivered by clicking here.)
It was also explained to students that causing such extreme disruption to the school day would have financial implications as well, for those at fault and potentially their families. Mentor Schools takes pride in wise, responsible spending of taxpayer dollars and will seek recuperation for the costs incurred by these evacuations, such as busing, fuel and food.
The investigation into each threat continues today. Police have identified suspects in two of the four threats, and have also determined all four were unsubstantiated. District administrators are finding the security cameras that were just installed in the middle schools this year to be helpful in investigating, and reminded students during the assemblies that the cameras are there watching. The students were encouraged to come forward with any information they might have that could be helpful to police or administrators.
As the superintendent expressed in a letter yesterday, it is disappointing the entire student body had to attend such assemblies Friday, as most students come to school with a genuine desire to learn. However, the seriousness of the events that occurred this week at the middle school level needed to be addressed. The students gave their principals their undivided attention during the assemblies, and we can report no further incidents occurred today throughout Mentor Schools.
The administration would like to thank parents and guardians for talking to their children about this subject this week. Administrators would also like to thank the many staff members who reacted quickly and calmly to ensure students were safe. Working together, we are very hopeful the message of zero tolerance when it comes to threats or making others feel unsafe is being received by all. We will continue to operate with an expectation that students and adults treat each other with respect and kindness as providing a safe environment where students can grow academically and socially is the district's number one priority.