Midd-West School District
A Quality Education For All, For Life
October 17, 2022
Midd-West School District Community Members, Parents, and Students:
Our entire community's heart skipped a beat when they heard a gun was brought onto the campus of the Midd-West School District. It was a scary situation brought closer to home by the many tragedies in other locales. Thankfully, it was no more than a scare and the skip of a heartbeat in the Midd-West School District.
The promise from the district is that we will process the events, learn from them, and use that information to make the district a safer place for all students. Our goal is to have intelligent conversations about the event and procedures involved rather than make rash decisions that may have unintended consequences. This process has already begun.
This letter serves as both an update on the situation that occurred within the district and some information based upon these events. First for the update:
1. The initial report made about a student making threats toward the Midd-West High School turned out to be a false report. The student first reporting the alleged threat admitted to making up the entire story. The accused student and his family were very cooperative in our investigation by voluntarily remaining home from school while the district continued to investigate. That student has returned to campus given this revelation. Their cooperation was greatly appreciated by the school district!
2. The student who brought the gun to school on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, was turned over to police and removed from school for the foreseeable future. The district needs to follow both policy and the law to complete this process. There cannot be comments from the district about the student beyond the information provided so as not to violate that individual's rights.
3. Since that incident on Tuesday, there have been additional reports of concerns from students, parents, and community members. Rumors often circulate for days following such an incident both in the student population and through social media. Though their level of severity may differ, each report
has been investigated. Actions have been taken where necessary and the district has requested support in some situations. The reports that have come in since have not proven to be credible threats. Despite that, they are still vital to keeping everyone safe and greatly appreciated.
The Midd-West School District Administration and Board of Directors strives to make the district a safe place for everyone. Likewise, we attempt to maintain open and honest communication about situations in the timeliest manner possible. Ultimately, we realize we cannot keep pace with the speed information travels through social media or other sources. Please understand these limitations and those on what can be shared. The following items are things that district has been working on regarding school safety and mental health:
1. The district has been pursuing adding additional school security personnel. Interviews have been scheduled for this week. This had been planned for some time, and we recently changed the description from School Police Officer to Armed Security to allow for a greater pool of ap1JiicaP11:s
The goal is to appoint at least one-Armed Security Guard at the October 24, 2022, board meeting.
2. The Midd-West School District has a Threat Assessment Team designed to look at practices and procedures in school safety and suggest changes to those practices. Additionally, this committee can look at individual students and have conversations as to supports and approaches to implement.
3. The district has a Prevention Specialist that we employ through an agreement with the CMSU. The job of this person is to help evaluate individuals with mental health or drug and alcohol issues and get them connected with outside services that they need. Although this position has had a high rate of turnover, the Midd-West School District is one of the few districts that employ such as staff member on a full-time basis.
4. The district has a plan to use $131,000 in funding through the Safe School Grant from the state of Pennsylvania to address physical infrastructure to provide a safer campus. The grant, which mandates certain prerequisites are met, will be used to place bollards in front of doorways and gates to limit the access of vehicle traffic to playground areas.
5. A team including the Middleburg Borough Police, the Center for Safe Schools, MWSD Administration, the district’s School Resource Officer, and members of our support staff was convened for the purpose of debriefing the events of the past week and looking at ways to improve school security across the district. Discussions included a review of events and responses to input provided through the course of the week from faculty, parents, and outside sources. The Threat Assessment Team in the MWSD will be reviewing the more relevant parts of this information and having discussion regarding the feasibility and practicality of those suggestions.
In conclusion, the Midd-West School District Board and Administration all strive to have the safest schools possible for our students and staff. We will learn from this incident and use the information to improve upon all practices. The best way to keep everyone safe is for our entire community to stay vigilant, take care of one another, and communicate often with their children about what is happening in their school day. When these things happen and concerns are shared with trusted adults, those adults can act and make a difference. We appreciate all your support through these challenging circumstances.
Joe Stroup, Superintendent
Midd-West School District
568 East Main St., Middleburg, PA 17842
570-837-0046 (ext. 1101) • firstname.lastname@example.org