His Voice: Work together to keep schools safe
by Jim Franco / Submitted to the Press
Mar 22, 2013 | 3260 views | 8 8 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As you might be aware, there have been rumors of threats and actual threats at both Kimball High and Tracy High schools in the past weeks.

Although it is not unusual for schools or other public agencies to receive threats, each must be taken seriously. Working together as a community, we can prevent these threats from happening in the future.

TUSD and the Tracy Police Department take threats of any kind seriously and respond immediately. They are, after all, a crime. We encourage students to report any information known about any threat.

TUSD and Tracy police will promptly and fully investigate the person or persons responsible and will prosecute individuals to the full extent of the law.

Our community can make anonymous reports to schools or local police departments. If you or your child want to report a crime or suspicious circumstance, call your local school or the Tracy Crime Stoppers hotline at 831-4847.

Our district works with students, staff and our community to prevent these types of events and others from happening on our campuses through law enforcement partnerships, anti-bullying and anti-gang efforts, comprehensive school safety plans and zero-tolerance policies.

The recent events have exploited our safety plans and preparations and harmfully impacted our community.

You can help by talking as a family about what individuals can do to keep schools safe havens in our community. Please take time to discuss these important points:

n Phony threats are not jokes. Threats are considered a felony, a crime punishable by imprisonment. In addition to criminal punishment, students who make false threats will be referred for expulsion from school. Any student arrested for threats will alter the course of their future in an incredibly negative way.

n Instructional minutes lost due to closures from school threats may require time to be added to the end of the school year or various vacation times.

n Learning is our school’s business and the job of our students. Threats have the potential to seriously disrupt learning and school activities.

There are other severe consequences as well, including incredible monetary loss due to interrupted construction schedules, additional staff and police resources, the cost of repeated visits by the bomb-sniffing dogs and many others.

Much more important than the tens of thousands of dollars these threats will cost our community, students miss out on learning and on after-school activities and lose their sense of security at school.

School should be a haven — places where students feel protected and secure to gain knowledge, friends and experiences. Rumors and threats severely damage this essential security and public safety in general.

n School safety is a shared responsibility. When students or parents hear rumors or have any information regarding possible threats, we encourage them to immediately contact their school office, the district office or the Tracy Police Department.

n After a rumor is reported to the proper authorities, it should not be shared among others in conversations, online or in person.

The spreading of false rumors can be just as harmful as a false threat itself. Rumors of all types are damaging and not conducive to our school environments or our community as a whole.

Working together as a community, I am hopeful we can identify and prosecute all of those responsible for these disruptive and serious crimes and get back to focusing our attention and energies on education and preparing our students for the future.

• Jim Franco is the superintendent of the Tracy Unified School District.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 26, 2013
If we were truly serious about keeping kids safe at school, we would witness major jail time, community service time, shaming time and scrutinize the heck out of the parents.

But, alas. The kids will be deemed mentally and emotionally disturbed, there will be some new explanation and the excuses will fly. Confusion will ensue and our short lived memories will fade.

Nothing will change because we are weak.
March 24, 2013
To solve the problem they have had with all the threats on the school campuses they should have school guards that walk the campus during the day or make the schools closed campuses with gates that are closed and if any one jumps over and alarm goes off.
March 23, 2013
What a crock. Franco himself is one of the most partisan, white, discriminatory heads. I should know. I worked there for decades. Every crony who was white got promoted. He doesn't care about kids, he cares about his ten figure salary. They are all a band of brothers at TUSD. Shame on them for their politics. He cuts off poor teacher's salaries and hours, lays off good workers, while his administration unit including himself make huge salaries. They are not educators. They do not care for our children. They are all in it for themselves.
March 23, 2013
doorsc - You are pathetic. You have no idea all the things Dr. Franco has done for the students. My guess is you did get promoted is because you are a waste of skin
March 24, 2013
If you really worked for TUSD rather than showing up, you would realize that the superintendent is the hardest working person in the district. Also, your math skills equal your lack of understanding. Ten figure salary? Are you kidding? Just to make a point? That is $1,000,000,000. Come on.
March 26, 2013
dd may be on to something. His or her math skills only support the incompetency that runs California School Districts.

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