WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A teacher at an elementary school in Westfield contacted the 22News I-Team concerned about what she perceives as a lack of response from the district after a student said “I have a gun” on two separate occasions this past fall.
In an email to 22News, the teacher said: “….I did not question the response of my administration at this point because I trusted they would act appropriately. The administration did not search the child, locker, desk or backpack… and a lock-down was not called.”
The 22News I-Team spoke with Administrator of Student Intervention and Safety Chris Rogers and the Westfield Schools Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski, who say appropriate action was taken.
“And I was consulted on it and advised the team at the school to put the threat assessment protocol into place, which is what they did,” said Rogers.
While Rogers would not confirm if the student was searched, he did state that it was determined that this was not a high level threat.
At a Westfield School Committee meeting Monday night, a parent came forward to express concern about the incidents at the Munger Hill Elementary School. The I-Team also spoke to a Munger Hill parent who wanted to remain anonymous. She said that safety at Munger Hill is a topic parents have expressed concern about. The superintendent says that privacy rules may be some of the reason teachers and parents are not aware of the school’s full response to the incident.
“There are things that the district acted on that we can’t necessarily share, there are things that we can share, and there are some things that we have to be respectful of the student’s privacy rights at that point,” explained Superintendent Czaporowski.
As a result of the parent’s public address to the committee Czaporowski issued this email to the Munger Hill School community:
Good afternoon members of the Munger Hill School Community,
At last night’s School Committee meeting, we received several questions from parents and caregivers about how the district responds to potential school safety issues; in particular, potential threats made by one person to another, a group of people, or an entire school. When an issue arises and is brought forward to school or central office administrators, the district takes immediate action to promote the safety of our school community in that moment. If a threat is made, school and district administrators collaborate and take further action, including a formal threat assessment process.
During the threat assessment process, a multidisciplinary school team of professionals, including a school psychologist, meets to review all necessary information gathered regarding the situation to assess the level of the threat and to determine its credibility. If it is determined that an individual poses a threat, immediate action is taken in cooperation with other community agencies, including the Westfield Police Department.
Please know that we take the safety and security of our schools very seriously. Unfortunately, we cannot limit the false allegations and rumors that are being spread by members of the community. I assure you that all relevant information that can be shared will be communicated to the school community in a timely manner.
As always the safety of our students, staff, and families is our top priority. If you have any questions regarding our protocols or procedures please, feel free to contact my office or our Administrator of Student Interventions and Safety, Mr. Christopher Rogers.
Stefan Czaporowski, Superintendent of Westfield Schools
In response to the community’s concerns, the Superintendent and his team plan to outline the safety protocol for members of the Munger Hill Community at a meeting next week.