A message regarding online threats

A message from the Superintendent regarding online threats
Posted on 09/22/2021
A message from the Superintendent regarding online threats

Good evening, PPS students, families and staff –

Since last night, administration has received reports of social media posts threatening violence at all of our middle and high schools. In speaking about our middle school threats specifically, the same image was used with a different school name added before it was shared and posted today.

Let me be clear: This behavior is unacceptable.

When school leadership receives a report of a threat, they immediately contact the Portsmouth Police Department, which begins its investigation into the threat. When the person responsible for the threat is identified, he or she not only faces discipline at the school, but also a possible arrest.

These posts are not funny, and they are not clever. They are criminal.

Parents, we need your help. Please talk with your child about their decision making and about the real – and very serious – consequences that come from making or sharing these kinds of posts. If they see something concerning online, please report that directly to their school administration or police, so that the investigation regarding the threat is not delayed.

Similarly, as a reminder for us all, blindly posting rumors about threats or reposting upsetting images on social media is not helpful to police or to school leaders. Today, due to rumors about threats in the division and subsequent misinformation, one of our elementary schools had a group of parents come to pick up their child because they read their school was on lockdown. This was never the case.

We all have a role to play in creating welcoming school environments. Let us not cause undue stress and anxiety for our community. Instead, let us work together and create networks of support for our students, families and schools.

I am grateful to the Portsmouth Police Department and Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office for their continued partnership in this work, and I thank you for your continued support of Portsmouth Public Schools.

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