From the Principal's Desk
From Principal Rundle
A Regular Sharing of Ruminations
January 19, 2018
Greetings Dearest Cresthill Community!
First and foremost, I want to formally welcome all of our new and returning families (incoming 7th graders come August) who are receiving this Eblast now that you have officially "rolled over" to our rosters and email access. For the past 10 years Cresthill has been my home, a place that is near and dear to my heart. My greatest hope is that you too find us to be something of a home and a place where you are grateful your child attends every day. I look so forward to getting to talk to you all in person next week (Tuesday or Thursday, 6:00pm) here in our Commons for 6th Grade Parent Orientation.
One of my bone-deep beliefs as a leader is openness and transparency: I cannot expect you to trust me with your student and the running of this great school if you do not feel you get honest and straight talk from me. So while I typically use this portion of the bi-weekly Eblast to message observations, insights, ideas, strategies and the like about our shared role in shepherding these kids we love so much through adolescence, this message will be a bit different from that usual approach. For our new families, I'm sorry if it feels a little bit as though you are coming into the middle of a conversation.
I want to update my communication with the larger Cresthill community about an unfortunate situation that occurred last week.
Last Thursday, the day before a long weekend, a student brought a gun
into our school. While this is incredibly concerning, it is very important to note that throughout the ongoing investigation there has been no discovery of any direct threat to any student or staff member in our school. That is, there was no motive or intent to cause harm. I received an anonymous phone call "tip" at the tail end of the school day and I immediately contacted our School Resource Officer (SRO). Together we immediately began to investigate the veracity of the tip. The school day ended and we were not able to discover anything conclusive. Because of excellent and persistent police work on the part of our SRO, he continued pursuing the tip into the evening and was able to locate the gun that was allegedly brought into our school at the home of another party. We are so very grateful for the professionalism and diligence of our partners with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
What criminal charges the student and the other party will face is, of course, a matter for the justice system to decide and act upon. What has been shared with us is that it is unlawful to carry or possess a concealed weapon on school grounds by a juvenile. These are very serious charges, and matters such as this are not taken lightly by either the DCSO or Douglas County School District. I am working with the District to enforce disciplinary action in accordance with DCSD Board of Education policy. Because I know it can sometimes be difficult to locate specific Board policies on our website, for those interested here is some of the direct verbiage of Policy JICI - WEAPONS IN SCHOOL:
Mandatory expulsion in accordance with state and federal law.
The principal shall initiate expulsion proceedings for students who carry,
bring, use or possess a firearm in a school building, on school grounds,
in any school vehicle, or at any school-sponsored activity... In accordance with federal and state law, expulsion shall be for one calendar year for any student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school without the authorization of the school or the District.
While in one sense this whole alarming situation is over with, in another sense my heart is still deeply troubled. My heart is troubled because I believe multiple students that day knew about the presence or possible presence of a weapon in our school and failed to report to an adult. As in all of our schools, at Cresthill we constantly encourage our students and families to immediately share with us any concerns they may have regarding safety in our school. We preach "doing the right thing" until we are blue in the face, and we've provided endless information about ways to report something anonymously if so desired via Text-A-Tip and/or Safe2Tell. We know our students (and parents!) know how to access these tools because I receive multiple student notifications each and every week. Yet, on this day and for this situation, nothing was reported to us until the last 15 minutes of the school day. This is very concerning and something that I will be spending a great deal of time reflecting on how to make better.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to continue to also talk to your son or daughter about these things. Being a sturdy human being means taking ownership and responsibility as an engaged member of a community. There is a very unhealthy culture out there among our youth against being a "snitch." This is very troublesome to me. Our kids need to understand that being a snitch is often times the exact RIGHT thing to do as a person of character and as a person who is concerned about the welfare of others.
(read more here.)