Addressing School Safety and Threats Made Concerning Schools
We provide all students and staff powerful learning opportunities in safe, secure, and predictable environments.
Dear HPS Community,
As we continue to work through the tragic event that took place in Oxford last week, we are reviewing all of our safety and security plans and assure you that our schools remain safe, secure, and predictable.
We have various safety protocols in place to protect students, teachers and staff. Our safety measures include, but are not limited to, locked entryways and door buzzers, security cameras, lockdown drills and procedures, mental health resources, and a variety of proactive measures, plans, and interventions to address individual student behaviors. In addition, we have a partnership with the Holland Police Department and have Community Police Officers supporting all of our schools. In today’s world of “social media” and the constant barrage of information, both accurate and inaccurate, we encourage you to share that we are a safe place and dispel any rumors that you hear. Now, more than ever, we need to equip our students with the truth as it relates to school safety and work together to communicate any questionable behavior, conversations, or threats to those who can help.
When a threat is brought to our attention, we investigate it immediately and thoroughly. These investigations can vary with each case, but are likely to include getting statements from student witnesses, backpack checks, computer history checks, violence risk assessments, home visits (when applicable), and/or involvement of law enforcement (when applicable).
If a comment or threat is substantiated, the response can vary depending on the severity. At a minimum, a specific safety plan will be in place with consequences, but severe threats could lead to criminal charges and exclusionary consequences up to permanent expulsion from school.
We also want to address the additional issue of “copycat” threats that have come up in some of our surrounding districts that have led to the closure of school. We urge you (where appropriate) to talk with your child(ren) about the seriousness of making copycat threats concerning the school. We would hate for a student, or group of students, to make a mistake of this magnitude and suffer the consequences that would follow.
Below is a list of possible charges for making a threat against a school:
- Threat of Terrorism - 20 Years and/or $20,000.00; reimburse government for expenses incurred from violation (see MCL 750.543x & 769.1f)
- False Threat of Terrorism - 20 Years and/or $20,000.00; reimburse government for expenses incurred from violation (see MCL 750.543x & 769.1f)
- Use of Internet/Telecommunications to Commit Terrorism - 20 Years and/or $20,000.00; reimburse government for expenses incurred from violation (see MCL 750.543x & 769.1f)
- Intentional threat to commit an act of violence against a school - 1 Year misdemeanor and/or $1,000.00
- Intentional Threat to Commit Act of Violence Against School, School Employees or Students with Specific Intent to Carry Out or Overt Act Toward - 10 Years and/or $20,000.00
- Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime - Generally same as the crime committed up to a maximum of 20 years
We will always err on the side of caution in regards to student and staff safety and will communicate with you if there is ever a need for concern. We continue to promote the use of OK2Say program and the ability to anonymously report concerns to people who can help. OK2Say is available 24/7 and tips can be submitted in the following ways:
- Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
- Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
- Email: OK2SAY@mi.gov
- OK2SAY website: ok2say.com
- OK2SAY mobile app: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android
Please continue to reach out if you have questions or concerns, but please trust that we are working tirelessly to keep our schools safe, secure, and predictable.
Interim Superintendent - Holland Public Schools
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