I received the below email this morning.
>>> XXXXXXXXXXXXXX 04/08/11 9:13 PM >>>
Dear Escambia County School Board members: I am a parent of a XXXXXXXXX school student. I want you to know that both me and my daughter want you to work on developing a plan to address violence of any kind in our schools. I also want to be very clear in that I demand to know immediately if my XXXXXXX is suspected of either committing a crime, or being the victim of one, a crime of ANY kind. All crimes which happen on your campuses should be handled in the same way they would be handled should they happen at a local hospital, restaurant or home. Local law enforcement, the public servants our tax dollars train and depend on to be knowledgeable and experienced in responding to crimes, must be notified immediately.
I also want you to know that if my XXXXXXXXX is sexually assaulted and proper procedures are not followed (meaning a trained investigator be called immediately) I will hold each and every one of you personally accountable for that crime. I do not know if you are parents or not (in which case the depth of my feelings may be misunderstood); I mean no personal offense by these words. I just want to be clear in my expectation of you, our elected officials charged with educating in a safe environment the most precious part of our society, our children.
My response: (redactions to protect writer's identity)
Thanks for your email of concern.
We report crimes, we do not condone or attempt to cover-up crimes. A fringe element of our local so-called media has reported erroneous data in his publication which becomes dangerous; He essentially said we broke the law by not notifying the DCF about the Tate H.S. Incident. Of course he was proven wrong when our attorney confirmed that we had followed the law and the statutes he quoted were inapplicable to the Tate HS incident. Now this same individual is hurling new allegations our way that are incorrect regarding protocols for SESIR reporting. He will be proven wrong on his allegations here as well-at a special board meeting this Thursday at 3PM. Of course I do not expect he will retract his allegations when they are found to be baseless--he will then move on to some other topic he can sensationalize for maximum hit counts on his blog.
XXXXXXXX--We care about all of the kids in this district--and I can say that to the best of my knowledge on our campuses if crimes are committed and discovered--these crimes are reported, that is the law and it aligns with our school board policies on reporting of such incidents.
The guilty are punished, and Escambia Schools are, save for the isolated random incident, safe.
XXXXXX--I, too, have a student at XXXXXXX, and my XXXXXXX went there for three years. My wife and I are in the XXXXX PTA(XXXXXXXXXX) My youngest son XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I have three kids in this school system, one of which is at PHS (a school I graduated from in the 80s) and believe me, I care about student safety. I'm the driving force behind a drug awareness program that has cut expulsions for drug possession in half. (Ironically, the same media personality that is attempting to demonize us for the Tate incident and SESIR reporting DISAGREES with drug dog searches and random testing of athletes for student safety--pretty ironic. He feels that this is simply too "invasive") But the truth, XXXXXX, is we expel students who are violent or who harm other students, period. That is the way this works.
Bottom Line: We have great personnel in our schools who care about kids. My advice to you would be to be involved, go to the schools, meet the faculty, and observe the environment for yourself. Don't allow third-hand, unreliable and inaccurate souces to frame your opinion for you; I would also strongly caution you against putting too much stock in believing in the paper monsters that one local newsblogger attempts to incarnate in order to vent some sort of passive agressive disdain he has for our current elected superintendent of schools and school board.
Escambia County School Board, Dist. 1
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.