Schools Walk Fine Line Informing Parents on Investigations - WBAY

Schools Walk Fine Line Informing Parents on Investigations

Shiocton -

Action 2 News has obtained a letter sent to parents Monday regarding a list that got three students suspended.  The contained a list of names the suspended students didn't like.  Though the school and law enforcement say it is not a "hit list," rumors that was did spread.

In the letter sent to parents, superintendent Nichole Schweitzer assures parents that the "appropriate actions were taken with the students involved so as to ensure the safety of all students and staff."

The letter also addresses parent concerns about not being notified about the list and the suspensions.  It says, "Rest assured, we would have contacted you directly earlier in the process if we felt that your child was in imminent danger."

Click here to read the full letter (opens .pdf file)

The Shiocton School District continues to investigate the incident that forced the district to suspend three high school students. The Shiocton Police Chief tells Action 2 News the suspended students created a list of students they did not like, not a "hit list" as some parents have said.

The list was initially recovered by the school last Monday, but many parents did not find out about it until later in the week.  Action 2 News spoke with other administrators in the area about how they make decisions about informing parents on matters like this one.  Green Bay School administrators say decisions like this require balancing notifying parents with unnecessarily alarming them.

"If we're still in the investigation, we don't know for sure if it's really a valid accusation, I don't think we would immediately notify parents because why, you would just unnecessarily alarm them and then it would turn out not to be true."said Director of Pupil Services at Green Bay schools Barbara Dorff.

She added that recent school shootings rightly already have parents highly concerned and on edge.  She also said today's technology, like social media and texting, get information out so fast that it often leads to confusion and undue stress.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction offers guidance on when to notify parents about safety issues, but each district creates its own policy.

In Shiocton's case, some parents were very upset that they were not informed, especially when their child was on the list of students not liked.  Others though believe the district handled everything just right

Adds Shiocton father Glen Bunnell, "I have 110% confidence in that school district and with everyone around there that they will make sure they do the right thing. They're doing their due diligence and that's what they have to do. I would have no qualms about whatsoever ."

The district says it will release more information to parents at the conclusion of the investigation.

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