April 4, 2023
RE: I-35 District News
Dear I-35 Community,
After visiting with several teachers, staff and parents, I wanted to follow up with all of you about the incident and subsequent actions taken yesterday. The safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance to every leader in this district. I am in no way minimizing this incident and I recognize there are things we can do better as a system, me included. I have received some questions about the process we use and I wanted to give a little more context.
Our first priority when a comment is made is to investigate using our assessment guide to understand the level of threat to best protect our students and staff. Once we have this information, we continue the investigation accordingly--whether that is talking with students and teachers, notifying law enforcement, evacuating a building, etc. This is all determined by the immediate level of threat. We will continue to review this process to be better. Going forward we can look at the information shared with parents so you are better informed, while not compromising our student and staff safety.
Another concern is the communication to both staff and community about the incident. While not everyone agrees, we as educators, are bound to confidentiality of ongoing investigations by both state and federal law. This confidentiality applies to individual student information as well. We communicate based on where we are in the investigation, what level of threat is present, and what can be communicated. Moving forward we will work to communicate better with our staff and parents--so they are better prepared to respond accordingly.
We want to thank the Madison County Sheriff's Department for their assistance in following up and communicating with the public. Together we were able to investigate, follow up and support teachers, students and staff at school. The statement provided by the Madison County Sheriff is listed below.
“On April 3, 2023, the Madison County Sheriff's Office and I-35 School District were made aware of a threatening comment that was allegedly made by a student. An investigation into the threat to harm other students was begun by both I-35 Schools and the Madison County Sheriff's Office that same day. Following the investigation, it was determined that a non-credible threat was in fact made by a student.
The investigation also showed that at no time was there ever an imminent threat to anyone at the school. The findings of the investigation have been turned over to Madison County Juvenile Courts.”
We will continue to work with the sheriff’s office in coordinating the timing of the information that is being sent out.
The District will continue to work through our process and act in the best interests of our students. If at any time you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact me and I will be available to meet with you.
Thank you for your continued support of the work we do. Thank you for your advocacy for students. Thank you for your feedback to help us improve.
Sharon Dentlinger (signed electronically)
Interstate 35 Community Schools