Hello Milan Community,
Below is a statement that I made at the December 6th Board meeting last night. In an effort to make sure that everyone has access to the information, I am sending it out via email and placing it on the district website.
MAS Lockdown Update
Due to student actions, Milan Area Schools has had to place individual buildings on lockdown three times in the last two months.
I know that there are many questions and concerns surrounding these lockdowns. We understand that lockdown situations are frustrating and cause anxiousness for parents and students. School personnel have the same feelings. This update is intended to provide some factual information about the lockdowns. The majority of this information has been shared in previous emails and updates.
The district takes the safety of our staff and students very seriously and there are numerous causes for lockdowns. Some reasons that we might place a building on lockdown include:
When an individual building is put into lockdown, the safety of all of the other buildings in the district is always considered. Most importantly, the safety of the neighboring school is evaluated.
It is important to know that none of the recent lockdowns were implemented because of outside intruders, and therefore, none of the other buildings were in danger during these lockdowns. In actuality, all three of the lockdowns were necessitated by students making threats against an individual student, a group of students, or the building at large. Therefore, more security would not have prevented these incidents from occurring. Put simply, these incidents will stop when student behavior changes. Achieving that change requires the parents and the schools to work together. School violence is a community problem, and it is going to take a community effort to prevent these senseless acts. Each of us can only guarantee the actions of one human being on this planet, ourselves. We can work diligently to influence the actions of others, and that is what we as a district are doing, and that is what we are asking parents to do as well.
In a community email sent on December 5th, I asked parents to take time to talk to their students about the seriousness of making threats against an individual student, a group of students, or a building. We ask that parents help their students explore ways of resolving conflict that are peaceful and productive. Please clarify to your students that all threats are taken seriously. Every act, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, has consequences. In today’s world, there is never a time that a threat against an individual student, a group of students, or a building is a joke.
While specific disciplinary actions cannot be shared under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), our school handbooks and Board Policies detail very clear student expectations regarding threats. Gross misconduct by students involving threats will be and has been addressed with discipline up to and including permanent expulsion from Milan Area Schools. While there are many factors considered when disciplining a student, disciplinary actions are usually more severe when the threat includes the use of a weapon. Board Policy 5610 specifically addresses several student actions that require suspension and expulsion. Milan Area Schools does use restorative practices; however, these practices are usually offered in conjunction with disciplinary action. Restorative practices are regularly used to facilitate a smooth re-entry when the student returns to school from a suspension or expulsion.
The law enforcement community also takes these threats seriously, and prosecuting attorneys are holding offenders accountable. Police have been involved in all three of the investigations that led to the recent lockdowns. When legal charges are appropriate, they are sought.
When communicating with families during and after an event, the district must be careful with what information we provide. We have to consider the rights of everyone involved, the accuracy of the information being provided, and the effect that releasing information can have on the investigation.
We understand that some parents would like to receive updates from their students during a lockdown. Each building has a cell phone policy in place. Student use of cell phones during a lockdown situation can hinder the investigation and can actually increase the potential safety risk at hand. A student who is texting or using social media during a lockdown is not focused on the classroom environment and might miss important directions. In a more severe safety situation, the student could be a co-conspirator that is sharing information with the bad actor(s).
The district thanks you for your patience and understanding during these difficult situations. We will continue to provide transparency within the restrictions created by the laws and policies that we operate under.
In an effort to keep the Milan Community up to speed on important educational topics, Bryan Girbach, the Superintendent of Milan Area Schools, will be sharing updates following each School Board Meeting. These updates will provide information about educational topics at the district, county, state, and national levels.
These updates are available HERE.
The city of Milan, which encompasses a total of 3.4 square miles, was founded in 1831 and is located in the Southeastern Counties of Washtenaw and Monroe in the State of Michigan. Located between the cultural and commercial hubs of Ann Arbor, MI and Toledo, OH, Milan has both rural and suburban areas.
The Milan School District embraces nearly 90 square miles and serves households in both Washtenaw and Monroe Counties. The district is proud to note that its staff is made up of both veteran teachers and those new to the profession, all of whom are highly qualified. The four school buildings that comprise the Milan Area School District operate as schools-of-choice facilities and consistently enroll students from four surrounding counties. The district offers exceptional educational programs to approximately 2,000 students ranging from preschool age to grade twelve.
The community is proud of the scholastic and extracurricular accomplishments of its students. School activities serve as an important part of the overall student experience and provide social activities for the entire community.
Mr. Bryan Girbach
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Mr. Ryan McMahon
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