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.”