Like their students, local school officials are trying to finish strong.
At Lewis and Clark High School on Thursday, the staff was craving normalcy. A day earlier, the school was less than half-full following a shooting threat posted Tuesday night.
“Things feel decidedly more normal today,” principal Marybeth Smith said Thursday. “Absenteeism is way down and we are working through connecting with all of our families and staff.”
The official count was 348 excused and unexcused absences, or about 20 percent, but Thursday’s numbers were far below the 57 percent absentee rate reported Wednesday.
Thursday also was a day of reassurance for the LC family.
In a letter to parents, Smith wrote: “As parents ourselves, we appreciate the trust you put in us to ensure that your student arrives safely to their classroom.”
“When an event like that of the last few days happens, it disrupts all of our lives. We take seriously our job to keep your child safe,” Smith added.
Smith reported Thursday was a good day at the school. A busy one, too, with science testing, volleyball camp and a drama performance.
On Friday, LC is scheduled for visitations from eighth-graders. This fall, the new freshmen can expect even more education on the perils of social media.
“It’s frustrating as heck that the world we’re giving our kids is one where a person behind a keyboard can disrupt this much,” Smith said. “That is just beyond the pale.”
The end of the year gives schools a chance to be proactive against the threat of gun violence.
This week, the Central Valley School District posted extra security at Central Valley and University high schools to better monitor doors, hallways and portable classroom entries.
“We have worked hard as a district to provide safety at all of our CVSD buildings and believe this additional resource is needed at both of our high schools at this time,” Central Valley principal Kerri Ames said this week in a letter to parents.
At the Lakeland Joint School District in Rathdrum, an armed guard will be hired in an effort to improve safety.
However, school officials said they hope parents will help stop threats before they begin.
“It’s really important for people to know what their students are doing,” said Kevin Morrison, director of Communications and Community Relations at Spokane Public Schools.
“Parents need to know what their kids are posting, what accounts their kids have,” said Morrison, who added that students shouldn’t share passwords with friends.