Updated Security at Rochester, MN High School After Incident With Knife
About a week ago, I was sitting in the studio at the radio station getting ready for my show when an e-mail popped up in my inbox from Century High School in Rochester, Minnesota. A fight broke out earlier and this time, a student was brandishing a knife.
If you don't know, my kid goes to this school, and at about the time of the fight, my child was in the same area. I immediately texted him to make sure he was ok because I knew if I saw someone waving a knife around, it would shake me up a bit.
After I was assured that he was ok, I gave some praise to our school district in the story that I wrote about the incident. To put it simply, we've had some major communication issues in the past, and even as someone in the media, my questions for stories weren't getting answered. I wasn't asking for names or specifics because I understand there are privacy issues when it comes to kids, but I wanted to know why parents were finding out about issues on social media from videos before we found out from the school. This wasn't just a one-time issue either. It seemed as if things were out of control and there was a major lack of transparency. Instead of looking forward to being part of the community at school events, I was counting down the years until we were done.
The message we got last week shows that things have started to change...for the better. Not all parents agreed with me though. Parents have a right to be upset when it comes to keeping their kids safe. If a knife got into the school, what else could show up? I know my mind went to that horrible place as soon as I heard about this incident.
As a result of parents wanting to know more and many sharing concerns, a new update was shared by the Principal at Century High School:
Dear Century Parents and Caregivers,
I am writing today to provide an update regarding the fight that occurred at the end of the day on Wednesday, November 8th. Our goal in our initial communication was to inform you about what was happening before you saw the news from the public. While we shared the basic details of the situation with you almost immediately following the incident, there were additional questions regarding what happened as well as how we might prevent things like this from happening in the future.
Due to data privacy laws, we cannot share specific information regarding consequences given to the students involved; however, disciplinary steps have been and are being taken following School District policy. This policy outlines possible consequences for fighting, which include suspension and expulsion from school.
I also want to communicate the steps we have taken to increase security at Century since the start of this school year:
- Improved security at the main entrance to Century
- Added an additional Assistant Principal position to the administrative team
- Provided specific training for Security Personnel (ESPs)
- Placed additional staff strategically in the hallways between passing times and in specific areas of the building to be a presence and reassurance to students
We are proactively working with students to define and recognize desirable behaviors. We take the safety and security of our school community seriously and recognize the importance of including student voices in solutions that lead to a safe and welcoming environment for all students and staff. In fact, today we held our first Student Summit which we scheduled last month. The Student Summit creates opportunities for students to share perceptions about their experience at Century and identify things leadership can do to improve our culture and climate.
Upwards of 200 students attended today’s Summit and identified multiple student-led/adult-facilitated action teams to identify ways we can move ahead to build the culture and climate we collectively desire here at Century.
I appreciate the support and concern we have received from the Century community and look forward to continuing to make positive changes in the school.
I always welcome feedback from parents and caregivers. You can reach out to me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out to one of our assistant principals.
Thank you for your continued partnership,
Positive change can happen. I've already been a witness to see the change that is happening in this school and I know that "change" doesn't just happen. It takes a lot of work, a lot of conversations that are civil and about solutions rather than blame and criticism.
Want Change? Next Time, Show Up And Vote For It
I never say anything political on-air or in my stories that I write because I know that I will tick off at least 50% of you. But, I can't be silent about this issue.
Last week, we had the operating levy for Rochester Public Schools and it didn't pass. It was close, but the end result is that now budget cuts are going to happen in the amount of about $10 million. I can't even fathom what that number entails but I know it means change, and probably not change that will be better for our kids. If you want change for our kids and for it to continue to go in a positive direction, vote for it next time.
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Gallery Credit: Jessica On The Radio