Parents Respond to School District’s Handling of Online Threats
Prince George, B.C. – Response from parents was mixed as to how the Prince George School District responded to last month’s online threats which resulted in lockdowns at local schools.
This after the district asked for feedback from parents regarding the incidents which occurred October 6 and October 7.
The RCMP ultimately decided the threats were “non-credible” though two people were arrested in connection with the threat on October 6 – a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old (the 17-year-old was later released without charge).
Superintendent of schools Marilyn Marquis-Forster estimated the district received 10-30 responses from parents.
“We had folks that were very appreciative that safety is a priority with the school district and we also had some folks who had some perhaps criticism and advice around communication in such situations.”
One of the district’s critics was Prince George Parent Advisory Council president Gillian Burnett who last month told 250News the district’s website wasn’t updated quickly enough noting “Lots of parents were looking for information and unable to access it.”
In response to that, Marquis-Forster said the district is now “looking at everything that happened.”
“We have a committee under the leadership of one of our assistant superintendents, Mr. Nevio Rossi, and we’re reviewing all of our practices in the event of threats to our schools.”
Does Marquis-Forster think there would be value in hiring a communications specialist like some districts in the province to deal with such issues?
“We were following the protocols that existed and they did include communications protocols. They were developed a number of years ago, and of course the world has changed a little bit so we’re updating all of our communications protocols,” she said.
“And just who does what job will be determined and assigned as we move through this process. We certainly do look at having new protocols and education for our staff in place throughout the remainder of the 2016/17 school year.”
You will never get all the parents to agree on one protocol. This is one of those “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” things.
Peter, what you said is so very true.
Every incident has it’s unique set of circumstances and they dealt with it very well.
That’s right, you have to base the response with the information you have at the time. So easy to criticize after the fact.
But then, some still have to criticize.
Obviously, Peter North and Griz do not have children attending PGSS, where for a full day, the entire school was in “lock down” with a code yellow in effect. Try putting yourself in a parent’s position having one or more of your children in that school not knowing for nearly an entire day what was going on.
DPAC Chair Gillian Burnett, is presenting the legitimate concerns of parents who receive virtually no information from the school district on what was happening, little wonder this was the case when according to Superintendent of schools Marilyn Marquis-Forster; “We were following the protocols that existed and they did include communications protocols. They were developed a number of years ago, and of course the world has changed a little bit so we’re updating all of our communications protocols,” she said.
No kidding the world has changed a “little bit” when it comes to communication (in this instance with parents). At least the Board of Education, and the school district, can “learn” from this unfortunate incident, and upgrade their communication protocols to reflect 21st century reality (online social media via twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.). In fact, I heard from a reliable source that most parents found out what was going on, not through the school district, but by direct contact (via smart phone/ cell phone social media platforms) with their children who were in that school during lock down.
16 and 17 year olds arrested leads me to believe that the majority of the threats are by minors who more than likely are using devices that are procured or the responsibility of an adult.
I say to the adults to be more involved with your children, I for one had no problem having my kids give me access to their devices and access to social media, this was a condition of their use as long as I was the one paying for it. I found that this negated any prospect of cyper-bullying and/or negative actions. The quote ” No kidding the world has changed a little bit when it comes to communication” I find troubling if we as parents are not the first line of defence by”Communicating” with our children
proudtobepg, nice of you to quote a portion of my comment and use it “out of context”! That portion of my comment; “No kidding the world has changed a little bit when it comes to communication” was in reference to outdated and dysfunctional communication between the School District and parents, NOT between parents and their children!
If you want to spin this around and blame the parents for their lack of communication with their 16 and 17 year olds, go ahead, but don’t use my words to do it!
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