Robbinsdale Area Schools

More information about today’s school cancelation; conferences postponed

Dear Plymouth Middle Schools families,

The events of the school day on Tuesday were difficult. As the two unrelated incidents unfolded, we saw firsthand how quickly and how much the combined impact of those things had on students, staff and families. 

Some were anxious, some were angry, and some were simply confused about how a normal school day became chaotic.

As things calmed down and building administrators, district leaders, and members of the Care and Crisis team discussed what happened, we had to make a decision about how best to support our students and staff.

We collectively agreed that it would be best for all if we canceled school. The primary reason was related to the aftermath of a possible weapon incident in the school, plus the heavy police presence it caused. For many who were at PMS 18 months ago when a student fired a gun into the ceiling, yesterday’s incident caused trauma. 

By canceling school for students, we are allowing staff the time to debrief, process what happened, and prepare to help students do the same when they return to the building on Thursday. 

We realized our decision would be supported by some and unpopular with others. We did what we believed was best for the entire school community. We also needed to begin planning the next steps because we knew that no matter what, it would not be a normal school day if students and staff returned Wednesday. 

While students will return to school as usual Thursday, Oct. 13 we have decided to postpone the conferences that were scheduled for tomorrow evening. The conferences will be rescheduled on a later date.

Please know that there are consequences for students who misbehave. We will follow the discipline process outlined in our student handbook. In the handbook we talk about expectations, restorative practices, and the levels of corrective strategies that we can rely on. We cannot share information about individual students and what consequences they may have because it violates state student data privacy laws.

We also have tools in place for students to confidentially share concerns regarding school safety. Our tip line called Speak Up allows students to report concerns through email at speakup@rdale.org, a phone call or text message at 763-272-7461. Gaggle Safety Team professionals monitor the tip line every day around the clock, and contact district administrators as necessary. If and when there is a report, school staff work collaboratively with families and students to address identified concerns.

There will be an extended advisory class tomorrow for all grades so support staff can check in with students and provide them with information about how to access additional support as they need it. Support staff will have a continued presence in the building for as long as needed.  

We do not have a zero tolerance policy in our district. Research has shown that zero-tolerance policies lead to disproportion in the number of kids of color suspended, expelled, and referred to law enforcement.

Accordingly, many districts have moved away from zero tolerance policies in favor of finding ways to work with students and keep them in school while offering the support they need. We believe in restorative practices. We believe in giving students – whose brains are not fully developed – an opportunity to work with supportive adults who can help them learn, grow and make better decisions. 

We ask you to consider offering grace and understanding as we navigate this most recent incident. We ask as well for your continued support as we work with students who are struggling with their mental health. 

Sincerely,

Todd Goggleye
Interim Principal
Marti Voight
Assistant Superintendent
   
Mike Bury
Assistant Principal
David Engstrom
Superintendent