Dear Students, Parents, Guardians, and Stakeholders of the Laurel Highlands School District:
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to address a concerning issue that has come to our attention regarding the safety of our students, particularly involving social media platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok. Our primary concern is the well-being of your children, and we want to ensure that they are safe both inside and outside of our school environment.
Recently, we have been made aware of a disturbing trend on these platforms where individuals are issuing random threats, often anonymously, which can be unsettling for students. These threats can take various forms, including verbal intimidation, harassment, or even potential violence.
On that note, we have been made aware of a possible school violence threat circulating among students on social media platforms. Additionally, the Laurel Highlands School District, other Pennsylvania school districts, and multiple school districts across the United States have been plagued by false bomb threats that have been deemed uncreditable by the authorities. As such, we have incorporated the Pennslyvania State Police to investigate the matter. In short, the threat does not state the Laurel Highlands School District in any way, or any individual. We take such maters very seriously and are working diligently to address them.
As parents and guardians, we share our crucial role in supporting your child's safety in the digital world. We would like ot take this opportunity to provide you with some guidance on how to address this issue and protect your child:
Open Communication: Encourage your child to share any concerning messages or threats they come across on social media. Maintain open and honest communication with them about their online experiences.
Privacy Settings: Ensure that your child's social media accounts are set to private, limiting access ot their content and information to trusted friends and family.
Online Etiquette: Educate your child about responsible online behavior, the importance of not engaging with strangers, and the potential consequences of sharing personal information online.
Report and Block: Teach your child how to report and block users who engage in threatening or harmful behavior on social media platforms.
Document and Preserve: In case of any threats or concerning messages, advise your child to take screenshots or save evidence, which can be useful for authorities if needed.
Contact Authorities: If a threat seems credible or poses a real danger, do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement. Safety is our top priority, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
Monitor Usage: Keep an eye on your child's online activity, making sure they are using social media responsibly and not engaging in any harmful behaviors themselves.
Please know that we are taking steps within our schools ot educate students about online safety, promote digital citizenship, and create asafe and respectful online environment. We are also cooperating with local alw enforcement ot investigate any credible threats and ensure the safety of our school community.
We understand that navigating the digital world can be chalenging, but by working together as acommunity and fostering open lines of communication, we can beter protect our children and ensure their wel-being. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the school administration or your child's teachers.
Thank you for your continued support and commitment ot the safety of our students.
Dr. Jesse .TWallace, III