Ridgeview: Get Informed and Involved in Making Our School Safe
The events of last week at Ridgeview and Riverwood and the facts that have unfurled over the weekend have revealed that there is work to be done to ensure that Ridgeview is a safe environment in which to learn.
It is important for you to be informed! You owe it to yourself to read the police report and AJC article and watch the two Channel 2 news clips (all links are in the email sent to you with this petition)
"What would make you feel that Ridgeview is a safe environment for your child." A group of parents created the letter below with a Six Point Immediate Action Safety Plan in an effort to answer this question Ms. Hastey asked some of us. This was delivered to her Tuesday (9/3) evening. If you would like to support this effort please sign this petition as soon as possible and pass the email on to every Ridgeview, Heards Ferry and Riverwood parent... it affects us all!
(Note: the host site for the petition posts a donation page at the end of the signature process to fund their site. NO DONATION IS REQUIRED NOR DOES IT BENEFIT THIS CAUSE. Your vote will count.)
Dear Ms. Hastey,
We are reaching out to you as partners in our childrens' education. We want our children to continue attending Ridgeview. This is our school. This is our community. Therefore, it is our responsibility to be a part of ensuring that they have a safe environment in which to learn.
We understand that some parents are comfortable with your assurance that the school is a safe place. There are also those who, with good intentions and much frustration, are pursuing a greater degree of disclosure and accountability. Then, there are those who are unaware of some of the details or are just beginning to ask questions. What we all have in common is our interest in the safety of everyone in the school.
In an effort to work towards that common goal we propose the following six point plan. These are the steps that would demonstrate to students, parents and the rest of our school community that Ridgeview is taking the necessary action to ensure the safety of our school. Also included are questions and thoughts to address going forward.
SIX POINT IMMEDIATE ACTION SAFETY PLAN
1. Increased and visible police presence throughout school immediately and ongoing until we have a definitive response for a long-term solution. At least 3 additional officers to patrol the hallways and bathrooms. Breaks to be taken on rotation for continuous coverage
2. Unannounced sweep of lockers and backpacks immediately. Well documented report to parents the day of the search. (i.e. Riverwood model) Continue with random searches and reports to parents on a weekly basis for the first month and at a rate to be determined from that point forward.
3. Zero Tolerance Assembly of entire student body immediately with a visible police presence in the gym and a gang task force officer addressing the entire student body with a message sanctioned by experts in gang education in schools. Inclusive in the message would be a strong reference to the Zero Tolerance Policy. Message would be followed by a message from the principle firmly reiterating consequences of the key Zero Tolerance issues (threats, weapons, drugs, etc.) Document message in video format and make it accessible to parents.
4. Within the confines of the privacy law constraints, concrete assurance that Gary Santos will not be back at Ridgeview under any circumstances.
5. Parent meeting message, September 10th, that includes a summary message from the gang task force officer and a message from the principal that reports these steps taken to ensure that the school is a safe environment.
6. Commitment to promptly review, revise where necessary and incorporate protocols, policy and resources. For example, but not limited to: weapon related protocol, Zero Tolerance Plan, Off-Campus Conduct, Safety Committee
Questions and thoughts to address in the evaluation and planning process:
1. Be transparent and forthcoming with parents. The safety of our children
is our business.
2. What is the protocol for weapons issues? Are they published?
3.To what extent does Ridgeview acknowledge a gang presence? If it isn’t accurately acknowledged is Ridgeview missing an opportunity for important and applicable resources including preventive measures.
4. Establish a Safety Committee as part of PTA or Foundation: Fundraising for safety education and resources, Volunteer opportunities for research and planning, Sponsor and coordinate Student Assemblies (Sandy Springs Mission student speaker), Sponsor and coordinate Parent Assemblies (Sandy Springs Mission student speaker, Gang Task Force Education speaker.)At parent meeting (9/10) announce that more information will be forthcoming about this and ways to get involved and contribute.
5. Focus Groups: Opportunity for students to volunteer in a group they form to share concerns, praises and ideas regarding the safety of the school.
6. Review protocols for infractions of the Zero Tolerance Plan and publish plan: Immediate social media access and review of any offender of the Code of Conduct
7. Review Off-Campus Conduct Policy: Any content on a students social media that violates the Off-Campus Code of Conduct will be handled under the Zero Tolerance Policy.
We sincerely hope that you receive this letter in the spirit with which it is written. That is to contribute in a positive and collaborative way to the security and well-being of everyone at Ridgeview Charter School. We respectfully request a response before Thursday, September 5, 2013, and look forward to an open dialogue moving forward.