Were School District Policies Followed With Regard to Students Making Threats That Impacted the Kearns Campus Today?
Late last night Park City School District Superintendent Dr Ember Conley issued a press release notifying the public that there were threats made (in October 2015) against the Kearns Campus that mentioned today’s date. This morning, in an interview with KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher, Dr. Conley said that it was Park City School District students who had made threats against certain teachers and a school administrator. Ms. Thatcher asked if the students had been suspended. Dr. Conley replied that due to student confidentiality she couldn’t say but that all policies were followed.
So, what is the policy on making threats against a school? Policy 10100 – Safe Schools says:
2.I.B: A student shall be suspended from school for participation in any of the following prohibited conduct when it occurs (a) on school grounds, in school facilities, at school-related events, and in school dispatched or funded transportation, or (b) wherever it occurs, if it has a direct impact on the discipline or safety of the schools or the learning experience of a student.
Chapter 2.I.B.6 specifically seems to mention today’s threat when it provides an example: “(6) Commission of an act involving the use of force or the threatened use of force which substantially interferes with the educational process in the school, for another student or for an educator;.” I’d say that 2.I.B.6 fits the bill, since today is an AP testing day, students are likely freaked out about this, the police and fire department are on premises, and the threat was made against educators.
So, that indicates that it is likely the students who made these threats should have been suspended from school. But for how long?
In Chapter 2.II.A.1.C it says:
“Procedures for Suspension A. When a student engages in conduct for which suspension is possible or required under Chapter 2 of this policy, the following procedures shall occur: 1. For the first offense:(c) If the conduct is described in Chapter 2, Section I.B.2 through I.B7 of this policy, the principal or designee shall suspend the student for ten consecutive school days and in addition shall refer the student to the superintendent for suspension for up to an entire school year, or its equivalent imposed over two school calendars. Principals can also recommend a suspension for an indefinite period of time.”
So, the question is, was this policy followed? Were the students suspended for 10 straight days? Were each of them referred to the Superintendent for a decision on whether to be suspended for up to a year? Did high school principal Bob O’Connor decide to indefinitely suspend any students?
We’ve reached out to the school district with these questions and will report back with what they tell us.
We are not looking for individual students names. That would be a violation of privacy laws. However, we as citizens need to know that school policies are always followed. Even more importantly in a case that apparently was egregious enough to “beef up security” at our schools, we need to know that from the beginning this was taken very seriously. If the school district followed their policies, even though it may appear to be tough on some students, we’ll be on our way to knowing that our district won’t stand by idly for threats.