A threat against Rock Island schools earlier this week put district administrators and police in a tough spot.
They had to decide how to let the public know about the incident and how to handle it.
Rock Island-Milan Schools Superintendent Dr. Reginald Lawerence discussed the process with Local 4 News.
“I’ll say that for any parent — and adult — it’s always kind of nerve-racking when you see something on social media and that’s probably the toughest part.
Rock Island Police determined this week’s threat wasn’t credible, but nevertheless parents and students both reacted with concern.
“We use social media for so much,” Lawrence said. “We see something there and we immediately want to go to it as if it’s the truth or the real.”
The school district has a policy they use in these situations.
“We have a good relationship with the Rock Island Police Department,” Lawrence said. “When we hear about information like that, if it’s shared with us as a tip, we want to confirm that it’s one of our students, we want to see if we can confirm the location of the student and their parent so that everyone is aware of the information. We then get a chance to move through some internal processes of making sure that you contact administartors and individuals involved with that school. And before getting information out to parents what we want to do is ensure that we have acurate information so that when we do share it with parents and schools that they know all the pieces that are tied to it.”
A policy developed as the nation has seen far too many school violence incidents.
“We take everything serious,” Lawrence said. “I mean Uvalde was like an eye opener for everyone. It has our district going back to look at all of our processes and protocols — our crisis response plan drills that we do.”
As they work together to protect the lives of their students, they hope the public engages as well.
“See something, say something,” Lawrence said. “There’s no way the school district can do it without the parents and the community. When it comes to social media, we all have to be engaged.”