I n response to the Roswell school shooting incident, Hobbs Municipal Schools on Wednesday updated its website to provide a location for students to report classmates who have made threats or are exhibiting suspicious behavior.
“Kids may be our best resource in averting these kind of tragic incidents,” Supt. TJ Parks said on Wednesday. “In the Roswell case and many others, reports indicate that the shooter sometimes cautioned friends to stay home for the day.”
The HMS website (www.hobbsschools.net)
already had a “Bullying Stops Here” link on its front page which encouraged students to anonymously report harassing behavior. The link has now been changed to “Safety Starts Here” and will include a link where students can report warnings or threats of school violence from classmates. “If a child has a friend who makes threats or statements that raise a red flag, we first want them to confide in their teachers or school resource officers,” Parks said. “But some students are reluctant to come forward. This gives them a way to remain anonymous.”
While the school district recognizes that it will receive some bogus reports on the website, Parks said that school principals and school resource officers will investigate all instances. “Even if only one in 50 materializes into a legitimate concern, the effort will be worth it. The safety of our students and staff is top priority.”
In the meantime, the district on Wednesday reviewed school emergency protocol plans as well as relocation sites should an emergency evacuation be necessary. And it discussed the way it disseminates information to parents.
“One of our biggest problems is parents providing us with up-to-date email addresses and phone numbers,” Parks said. “The school district pays for an emergency notification system that allows us to make automated calls to parents as well as send out text messages and emails. But when we do a weather delay call-out, we have hundreds of non-working phone number reports and complaints that some parents didn’t receive a call. Distributing information electronically is the best way for us to keep parents informed quickly – but they have to keep us informed.”
Parents can update their email address and telephone numbers by logging into the Skyward grade viewer on the school website. Or they can call their child’s school with the information.
“Our thoughts go out to the students, parents and teachers in Roswell,” Parks said. “It’s our heartfelt wish that nobody in Hobbs or anywhere else ever has to experience school violence. We sincerely hope that increasing security at our schools and asking students to come forward with concerns will help prevent any more tragedies.”