Don’t tell us, we’re just the parents
I received these texts from one of my daughters the other day…
“So apparently the school is gonna get shot up today.”
“Some kid in **** class threatened to shoot up the school because of bullying. And he’s got a list.”
I’m not including the name of the class because my daughter is in that class, and so is the kid who ostensibly did the threatening. Suffice to know it was at Port Perry High School (and separate from the incident that was recently reported at Uxbridge Secondary School).
Back to the texts. Aren’t they just what every parent loves to receive from their child, whom they’ve sent off to receive an education in what is supposed to be a safe and secure environment?
I’m a pretty chill individual, and tend to ask a lot of questions before reacting to a situation. So after receiving these texts, asking a few questions of my daughter, like “Where are you now, are you ok?”, and learning that this wasn’t the first threat received that week, I moseyed on over to the Durham District School Board website to see if there was any information on what was happening there. Nope. Then to the PPHS website – nothing. Durham Region Police Service? Nothing to report there.
I checked my email to see if anything had been distributed from any of the aforementioned institutions. No messages.
From there I skipped on over to Facebook, to see what might be perking there. I checked the PPHS page – its last post was from Dec. 8, 2022. What about the PPHS Parent Group page – surely it would have something?
Zip. Zero. Nada.
Now, I totally get that it wouldn’t be cool to inform an entire schoolful of teenagers that there’s a potential threat to the school. They’d all get freaked out and likely notify their parents/guardians, who would also get freaked out, resulting in a whole whack of freaked out students and parents texting misinformation, showing up at or calling the school and otherwise disrupting what could be a very real, very tense situation that needs to be dealt with ASAP. I understand the lack of real-time information dissemination.
What I do not understand is the complete and total lack of communication following the incident(s). There has been radio silence from the DDSB, PPHS, DRPS – pick an acronym. They’ve said nothing. A quick call to the school tells me there’s “nothing to worry about, everything is safe.” A call to the school principal results in an email from the communications department at DDSB telling me right off the top, “Please know we cannot divulge the identities of minors.” Duh, already knew that. And didn’t ask, for that matter.
The email continues: “The safety and well-being of staff and students at Port Perry High School is our top priority. Our school administration, the Durham District School Board and Durham Regional Police Service want to acknowledge the unease among students and families as a result of an online threat to Port Perry High School.”
Well isn’t that nice. You’ve acknowledged my unease. I feel so much better now.
The email I received was EXACTLY the same as the one the Cosmos received in response to inquiries about the USS threat. Word for word, except for the school names. A 267-word email that told me nothing.
I know I’m not the only parent who feels more than a little irked at this lack of communication. After the Cosmos ran the USS story last week, it received several messages from parents who were less than thrilled about how communication is handled. Everyone was told that “the school was safe, there was no threat, we can’t tell you any more,” blah blah blah. Don’t tell me there was no threat, I read them – them – with my very own eyes! And I’d just really like to know what measures were put in place to prove there was no longer any threat. Heck, I’d have been happy just to be told about the whole situation in the first place, even if after the fact, from an official source. Otherwise that ol’ rumour mill starts…
The board’s email also said “The school and police are working closely together and are in continued communication.” They might want to consider adding us parents to that loop.