School district dispels rumors on social media, explains Lockhart Junior High walkout
By Miles Smith
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shootings that claimed 17 lives last week, Lockhart schools say they have been harangued by false reports and false statements on social media and members of the community as news broke Wednesday about an investigation into two reports that students had made threats at Lockhart High School.
Superintendent Susan K. Bohn and the school district have been crafting emails to parents and taking to social media themselves in an attempt to quell the mania.
“In response to false statements posted on social media and false reports made by members of our community, I am writing to let you know that (1) no gun was found on any of our campuses yesterday (2) no student was arrested on any of our campuses yesterday and (3) there was no threat made that there would be a shooting at any of our campuses today,” Bohn wrote Thursday in a letter addressed to parents and guardians. “Be aware that if something occurs that legitimately compromises the safety of a campus, we would initiate a lockdown and other appropriate procedures to ensure safety, and the district would make staff, students and parents aware.
“You may understand that when people make false statements about the safety and security of our campuses, it actually compromises our ability to engage in legitimate threat assessment and keep our students and staff safe. It is very difficult for us to do the most important work we do–keeping our students and staff safe–when individuals make the decision to share false information. We can respond to students who engage in this behavior. Unfortunately, we at the district have no control over what adults choose to say and do. As parents and community members, please work with us to help keep our students and staff safe by reporting to campus or district officials or law enforcement when you hear about something that causes you concern rather than perpetuating false rumors in our community,” the letter continued.
The district also sent out communications confirming that 100 students at Lockhart Junior High School had staged a walkout in support of the students in Parkland, Florida, mirroring what students at many schools across the nation are currently doing in the wake of the tragedy.
“Our students are a group of many nationally who are participating in exercising their rights and to participate in civic engagement on an important issue that is weighing heavily on many,” said Lori Davis, principal of Lockhart Junior High School, in a letter to parents and guardians.
The safety and security of our students is our number one priority. Both campus and district staff, along with the Lockhart Police Department, were prepared. Administrators and LPD were on scene, watching the students who had walked outside and making sure they remained safe. There have been rumor that students were locked outside of the campus, and that is completely false.
“While students were safe during the walk out, administration did encourage students to come back into the building. Most of the students came back inside of the school without incident. A few opted to go home instead.
“On our campus today, administrators met with students to specifically review safety procedures, how to report concerns, and listen to students. We will continue to have that dialog with our students over this important topic and help them feel safe so they can focus on learning.
“If you ever have any concerns or questions about student safety at our campus, please feel free to contact me directly at Lori.Davis@lockhart.txed.net.”