Meadowdale Middle School was placed on a one-hour lock down Wednesday afternoon after school officials received an anonymous tip that a large number of students were in possession of drugs and/or alcohol at the school.
According to a letter sent home to parents by Meadowdale Middle Principal Christine Avery, public schools are legally allowed to conduct a search “when they have reasonable suspicion that a student is in violation of a school district policy or law.”
“The administration determined that a lock down was important to promote confidentiality during the search and minimize disruption during the investigation,” the letter said. Students were informed there was no risk of an intruder and that students were not in danger, but were also told that the lock down was not a drill, Avery said.
While school officials were unable to confirm the tip, administrators and counselors at the school believed that they had enough information to send a reminder to all parents about drug/alcohol prevention and safety, the letter added.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear MMS Parent/Guardian,
This afternoon, at MMS, we engaged in approximately a 1 hour Lock Down due to an anonymous tip reported to us by phone. This anonymous tip came to us by a parent that shared approximately 10+ names of students that reportedly were in possession of drugs and/or alcohol at school, today. Legally, public schools are allowed to conduct a search when they have reasonable suspicion that a student is in violation of a school district policy or law. The administration determined that a Lock Down was important to promote confidentiality during the search and minimize disruption during the investigation. When the Lock Down was initiated Mrs. Avery, principal, informed the entire student body that there was not a risk of an intruder and our students were not in danger, but the Lock Down was not a drill.
Although we are unable to confirm the outcome of our investigation our students know that we take student safety seriously at MMS. Since, we spoke with many students we were informed that they are aware of student(s) experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol in our school community. It is difficult to know if the knowledge is first hand or rumor, but the administrators and counselors at MMS believe that we have enough information to send a reminder to all parents about Drug/Alcohol Prevention and Safety. A few reminders are below:
1. It is important that every parent be reminded to periodically check their student’s communication via computer (Facebook, email) and cell phones (text messages). If you find concerning information, then immediately print from the computer or forward text messages to your own personal cell phone.
2. Please throw away old prescriptions or keep current prescriptions in a safe and private location.
3. Talk to your student about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
4. Introduce yourself to other parents and confirm that adults are present when you drop your student off for a sleep-over, etc.
5. It is okay to know what is in your child’s bedroom, backpack, coat pockets, etc., and to ask questions about anything that is suspicious.
6. Keep your alcohol behind locked doors. Most people report that their first drink of alcohol occurred in their own home.
It is during middle school that many students begin the “experimentation” stage of drugs and alcohol and sometimes it is the most “unlikely” students that become curious. There are many stereotypes and ideas about which students experiment with drugs and alcohol and the fact is that every student is at risk of peer pressure. These conversations can be uncomfortable for parents and students, but they are vitally important for your child’s health and safety. A few tips for how to talk to your child about these topics are as follows:
1. Do not talk to your student when you are upset or mad. In advance, develop a plan with the other parent that includes how you will talk to your student and potential consequences, if necessary.
2. Talk to your child while you are driving in the car or taking a dog for a walk. The side-by-side sitting/standing position is less threatening/intimidating during a serious conversation than face-to-face.
3. If you need help with how to talk to your child or with resources to support your child, then please call your school counselor and/or administrator. We believe in a strong parent partnership.
Thank you for your understanding of promoting safety and health within our Meadowdale community. We care deeply about our students safety and well-being.
Christine Avery, principal