Merchantville School CSA addresses closing
January 10, 2013
Dear Merchantville Community,
As you are aware, Merchantville School was closed unexpectedly on Thursday, January 10. At the end of the school day on Wednesday, January 9th a threat, not directed at any person or group, was found to be written on the bathroom wall. The police were contacted immediately. The decision was made to launch an investigation and ensure that the building was completely safe before having students return. This was completed Thursday morning with the assistance of the police department. The building was deemed secure. However, the investigation is not complete. The Merchantville Police Department continues to take the threat seriously and perform a thorough investigation to properly assess the situation. As much as transparency is important, sharing more information than this could hinder the investigation.
While this does have certain hallmarks of a child acting out, we cannot take any chances and want to ensure parents and students that the school and police department are following the proper protocols to address the issue so our children have the safe environment they deserve. One of my main responsibilities as Chief School Administrator is to ensure the safety of our Merchantville children. In today’s society, I must err on the side of caution when making decisions to protect our children. Until the investigation is complete, Merchantville School will work with the Merchantville Police Department in providing extra police presence throughout the school day. In addition, parents need to be aware that security checks may take place as some students enter the building. There will be a crisis station set up in the building in case students need to discuss any concerns or nervousness they may be experiencing. A brief statement will be made over the PA system in the morning about school safety to all. Teachers will follow up with age appropriate conversations in the classroom. The older students (Grades 5 – 8) will be addressed in a brief assembly in the morning before classes begin. These are precautionary measures that the school and police are taking to ensure that our students are safe.
As always, we cannot do this alone, I am asking that parents speak with their children about school safety. If you know someone involved in this incident please call the police department, all information given to the police will be confidential. Schools and society have change over the years. The school and police department are taking this seriously to ensure our children’s safety. Please speak with your children about how the adults in the building are always looking out for their best interest. Our goal is to provide peace of mind to students and parent by taking every threat seriously. The students need to know to choose their words wisely and that the school will not tolerate threats of any kind. With your support we can move forward and continue to provide your children with a top notch education.
With all of this in mind, our school will be open on Friday, January 11. However, the dance that was scheduled Friday evening for the Jr. High students has been canceled. Thank you for your continued support of our school. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can answer your questions and explain any of our procedures to make you feel more comfortable about Merchantville School.
J. Scott Strong