Inaccurate information leads to panic

Sarah Ebeling | Editor

A single text from a student to a parent and a post to social media caused enormous amounts of panic to some in Parker last week. 

An inaccurate Facebook post alerted many parents to a “threat” at the Parker School on Wednesday, Oct. 30. However, according to Superintendent Donavan DeBoer, not only was there never a threat to the school or the students, but there was never a cause for him or any of the administration to be concerned about the safety of the students or staff. 

DeBoer explained that the school’s number one goal is to keep kids and staff safe. 

“If there is a legitimate danger and something we can prove puts our staff and kids in danger, not only would we let people know, we would do everything to keep kids safe,” he said. 

What was actually a private issue that was handled between the school and a student ended up being a very public matter because of social media. 

“If you don’t see information from the school, don’t believe it,” said DeBoer, noting that a number of the comments made on social media were completely false. 

He continued, “I want the members of our community to trust us in our decision making and trust that we are going to make those decisions based on the facts that we have. I have 472 kids here and worry about them all.” 

He noted though that parents need to set an example for their kids. 

“Social media can be a beneficial thing, but it can also be a very detrimental thing when it is used incorrectly,” DeBoer said. 

With today’s heightened sense of security for so many, any incident that does happen usually makes schools sit back after the event and see how things could have been handled differently. 

Parker is no different. 

After calls started to roll in about the “threat”, the school posted a brief update on social media, explaining that they were aware of the situation and were looking into it. After the posting, the school also attempted to send out a mass email to every home, but a glitch prohibited some parents from receiving that email. 

“I apologize to the families who did not get an email. I am not sure what happened but we are looking into it,” DeBoer said. 

It was after the false comments started to spread that the administration chose to take down their statement on social media. 

“We also didn’t want it being shared in the future, worrying families again,” said DeBoer. 

He noted that he was very appreciative of all the support he did receive from the community, school board, staff and students. 

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