A message from FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
Hello- Here is an update that Principal Light is sending to FHS families. The students at FHS returned to class at about 9:30. Teachers processed the incident with students and counselors were available for those students who needed additional support. All students were safe and law enforcement officials were exceptional in their response. Thank you for your patience and assistance.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during what was a difficult morning at FHS. The purpose of this email is twofold: to update you with additional information about the incident this morning, and to confirm that tonight's curriculum open house is happening as planned.
I will review the information regarding today's incident with interested families from 5:45 until 6:15 tonight in the school auditorium, but below is a synopsis of the events of today as they unfolded. This is the same information that I will share with families tonight at 5:45.
I know our faculty are eager to showcase what they will be doing with students throughout the year, so I ask that if you have questions about today's incident you either attend our session in the auditorium tonight at 5:45, or I, or another member of the school administration would be happy to speak with you one on one regarding any questions or concerns you have.
Thank you in advance.
Early this morning, I received an email that made a threat against the high school. I immediately notified the Franklin Police and the Superintendent of Schools who in turn reached out to state law enforcement officials. The threat was immediately deemed not credible, but after consulting with Franklin Police, we requested a full sweep of the building by the state police. By the time initial communications with law enforcement had occurred and we had developed an understanding of the situation, students had already boarded busses and had begun to congregate outside the school.
Initial estimates were that the full sweep of the school would be complete prior to busses arriving. Based on this information and because students had started to arrive at school or had already boarded busses, we made the decision, alongside law enforcement, to begin school as scheduled but have students start at the Horace Mann Middle School. At this time we notified parents of an ongoing issue at the school which would necessitate us starting the day at Horace Mann Middle School.
Faculty and staff escorted our students as they arrived on campus to locations within the Horace Mann/ Oak Street complex. At no time did students enter FHS prior to the start of the school day. As we worked with law enforcement in the early part of the school day, we thought we could return to the school shortly after the scheduled opening. We then received information that this would be delayed until approximately 9:00AM, and then shortly after 9:30 AM we were given the final "go-ahead" to bring students back into the school.
By 10:00 AM, all students had reported to G period classes and teachers were provided information about the morning's incident to share with students. Faculty were also briefed on how to monitor students who may need additional support and counselors were available to meet with students as needed.
As the Franklin Police noted in their press release, not all details of the threat are able to be shared as this is an ongoing investigation, and we do not want to hamper the investigation into this matter. Throughout the morning, school administration worked with local, state and federal authorities to insure the safety of students and to provide the authorities with information necessary to conduct the investigation. We will continue to monitor the investigation as it progresses, but want to insure all of our students and families that FHS continues to be a safe environment.
Some questions I have received:
Q: I only received the call this morning to my home telephone. Why wasn't this sent to email and to cell phones?
A: This situation unfolded very quickly and when the message was sent, I accidentally selected a feature that only placed the call to home telephones. Because I was immediately pulled into monitoring students and working with police, I was unaware this was sent only to home telephones. Now that I am aware of this issue, I will make sure this does not happen again in the event of an emergency.
Q: The message this morning said only that there was an "issue" at the building, but made no reference to a threat. Why?
A: Based on the information we had available and after consulting with law enforcement authorities, it was determined that this was the best course of action at the time. The situation this morning unfolded very quickly and while it was determined early on that student safety was secured, information about the incident, the timeline for resolution and our work in ensuring students could move to Horace Mann Middle School in an orderly fashion all impacted how we distributed information. As with all situations, we will review our response and use information gathered to make the best decisions in the future.
Q: Why were students held at the middle school so long?
A: Initial estimates were for a much faster resolution to the incident, however, the size of the school impacted officials' ability to complete the sweep of the building as quickly as initially expected. As the situation unfolded, we reacted to information as it was made available to us. It is unfortunate that students had to wait so long before returning to the high school, but it was out top priority to ensure that the school was safe.
Q: Is the school safe now?
A: Yes, the school is safe. Once we returned to the school and classrooms, we resumed all school and extra-curricular activities as scheduled. The investigation is ongoing, but the school has been cleared by law enforcement.
Thank you for your time and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
This e-mail has been sent to you by FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT.