A recent incident at a local charter school has many parents scared for their children’s safety and complaining about a lack of transparency.
An emailed communication was sent out Monday afternoon by the principal of the Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy in Brighton referencing reports by middle school students that were made to staff members about graffiti and vandalism in the CSPA Middle School girl’s bathroom. The email stated that the “vandalism could potentially be construed as threatening” and that the schools administration, “launched a comprehensive school investigation, including multiple meetings with the Brighton Police.” It went on to say that after four meetings on the matter, Brighton Police, “deemed this to be a “non-credible threat” but that starting today, “there will be an increased administrative presence” and the Brighton Police “will be visible in the area” and on the CSPA campus. A Brighton Police car was seen circling the school as students were being dropped off this morning.
However, some parents decided to keep their children home until additional information is provided about the exact nature of the threat, when it was first reported and how it was handled. Karen Chouinard is a parent in the district and told WHMI that the, “district made a choice to delay informing parents of events regarding the safety of students. This communication breakdown breaks their own laws of promoting healthy character habits through relationships.” Chouinard went on to say that going forward, she asks that parents be updated about any action the CSA district takes regarding threats of violence. “Other school districts protocol for threats are simple; Lock down, call the police, inform parents. CSPA should adopt the same practice. If we are to be considered “Partners in Education” by the CSA district, we should not have information and communication withheld while they deem if a threat is credible or not. Making sure our children are safe while including parents on actions taken should be the #1 goal. We would like to be addressed face to face by the district administration to make a plan together to avoid future communication breakdown, to identify clearly the protocol for these events and increase to increase transparency.”
Brighton Deputy Police Chief Craig Flood told WHMI that they have been working closely with the school and reassured parents they take incidents like this “very seriously” and that they were brought into the investigation at the onset and will remain involved until those responsible are found.
In a follow-up e-mail to parents this afternoon (posted below), CSA District Superintendent Steven Beyer said, “a more timely letter to parents regarding this incident should have been part of our communication plan. For that I humbly apologize to the CSA school community.” While he did not disclose exactly when the incident was first reported, he went on to assure parents that, “during the entire course of this ongoing investigation the district followed our security protocols, followed our safety procedures, and used all of our security tools–including the ongoing professional development of our staff in student safety situations. In addition, we followed the recommendations of the Brighton Police from the onset of this investigation.” (JK)