I was contacted by a reader who is furious about the recent e-mail they received from the Burnsville School District regarding a bomb threat that was discovered after the school day ended on Friday May 15th. This reader feels strongly that a more timely response was necessary and I believe that the district did everything it could to avoid answering parent questions the day before the threat was supposed to be carried out.
I have archived a copy of the letter in PDF format for you to read here and I have copied the relevant parts below:
I am writing to provide you information on a situation that occurred at Nicollet on Friday, May 15. After the student day, staff spotted graffiti in one of our restrooms that threatened a bomb on Tuesday so the Burnsville Police Department was contacted immediately.
Officer Senne, the Nicollet Resource Officer, coordinated an investigation. The police department collected some photographs and we did a search of the school without finding anything unusual. All staff members are aware of the incident and continue to watch for suspicious activity.
We work closely with local law enforcement to assist us in evaluating any threat and making sure our schools are safe. We must take all threats seriously since the safety of our students and staff members is always our number one priority.
Threats like this one are disruptive, costly and are against the law. Local law enforcement officials will follow-up on all leads.
Through the course of our conversation via e-mail, this concerned parent raised several good points:
1. Even though the district knew about the threat since Friday, they chose to wait until after the school day nearly ended (3:18 pm) before sending out the notification e-mail. This made it impossible to speak with anyone from the district as everyone had already left for the day (office hours run until 3:30) by the time many received the notification.
2. If you take a look at the original PDF which was sent, the document was sent without any contact information provided, including omission of the name of the school official who penned the letter. At first glance, the parent was concerned that this may have been a hoax.
3. There was no information available on the school’s website nor on the Burnsville PD website. Aside from the vague letter sent in e-mail, no additional information is available to the general public about the perceived threat.
4. A letter was sent home with students, on school letterhead, but it also does not include any contact information aside from the name of the principal.
I am in 100% agreement with this particular parent that the communications sent out by the school are not only inadequate but irresponsible. It is blatantly obvious that both the Burnsville PD and school officials did not offer the public the information they need to decide whether or not the school is safe for their children in a timely manner. Not only that but they are clearly uninterested in being contacted by parents of children who attend the school.
Now there are a slew of reasons why there may have been a delay in release of the information if it occurred on a weekday but with over 48 hours notice, I really do believe that the school officials could have constructed and sent out a much more informative response and allowed for the public to ask questions about the imminent threat. Honestly, this is a huge blunder that the taxpayers who support the district should take the school and district to task over.
What do you think about the lack of information provided to the parents of students attending Nicollet? Do you believe that the school handled the situation properly in waiting until just minutes before the school offices were closed at 3:30 to send the notification out? Whatever you feel about this situation, please go ahead and comment on as I’m not a parent and I’d like to hear what those of you with children feel about this one.