December 2, 2021 Superintendent Update

Reporting Procedures
Posted on 12/02/2021

December 2, 2021


Dear Bedford Public Schools families: 


With the recent tragedy in Oxford and tragedies that have happened in schools the last several years, districts typically see an increase in both verified and unverified threats for several weeks after these events. Today, across the Metro-Detroit area dozens of school districts were forced to take additional precautions or cancel classes due to some type of threat. Bedford Public Schools was not one of these districts. However, I wanted to communicate once again how important it is for all of us within the Bedford Community to remain consistent and steadfast in our resolve to maintain a safe learning environment. This goal includes the ability for our students, staff, and families to be able to safely and discreetly report all types of perceived threats or suspicious behaviors to ensure that they can be investigated and addressed in a timely and safe manner.


Social media has created the ability for connections that didn’t otherwise exist, but has also posed problems when it comes to creating a safe environment that is free from constant reminders of school violence. Whenever there is a threat that is circulated amongst our students or community, our local law enforcement agencies help us to determine what is credible and what is not. We understand that there is increased sensitivity to school threats right now, however, there is also an opportunity for people to post threats that are not credible to create chaos in hopes of shutting schools down. It is important that we are a united front with students when we talk about appropriate responses to what they see and hear from their peers as well as the responsible use of social media. Please take the time to speak to your children about the reporting of suspicious or threatening behavior, no matter where they find it. It is important to stress that they should share this information with a trusted adult, school employee, or law enforcement rather than circulating it among other students. As the leader of this district, I would rather someone err on the side of caution than find out too late that someone knew something and didn’t share it.


Additionally, please be an active participant in monitoring your child’s online presence, stressing the high level of responsibility they must accept for what they share or say on social media. Throughout the country and here in the metro-Detroit area, many schools are experiencing threats posted on social media and/or statements made to someone at school regarding violence. Oftentimes, these are students who claim they were joking or didn’t mean anything by the post or comment after the fact. Making a threat, whether verbally or online, is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and state and federal laws. Individuals providing a reason such as “it was an attempt at humor or I only said it out of frustration”, will not change how BPS or the authorities respond. 


Similarly, sharing a posted threat in an attempt to inform others also creates a disruption and slows down the investigative process and can result in negative behavioral consequences. Thus, I will continue to ask that you speak to your children and urge them to reach out to school officials directly or through the State of Michigan’s OK2Say tip line at 8-555-OK2SAY or [email protected] if they hear of any potentially dangerous situations instead of sharing and re-posting perceived threats. I am also asking parents to take the same course of action rather than using our local social media groups which only perpetuates fear among families.


Please know that BPS takes all reported suspicious behaviors and threats seriously and will, in conjunction with local authorities, take decisive actions to ensure the safety of our schools and community. This includes supporting the prosecution of all participants in these types of malicious behaviors to the fullest extent possible.


While this type of message is not my favorite form of communication to our families, I feel that if we can work together to avoid any potential issues in advance it will be a benefit for all of us. Thank you for your support in this matter and for your continued partnership.


Sincerely,


Carl Shultz, PhD

Dr. Carl Shultz

Superintendent


In addition, I have been asked by several individuals how they can provide support for the families affected by this tragic event.  I have learned through our educational partners of the following information:


Oxford Community Memorial and Victims Fund

Donate at any Oxford Bank

Mail: Oxford Bank, PO Box 17, Oxford, MI 48371                                       

Checks Payable to Oxford Community and Memorial and Victims Fund


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