I wish to use this blog to update pupils, parents and staff on a situation which arose on at the end of the week.
On Friday morning we were made aware by the police of an image which had appeared on social media and which they were investigating. Our actions in such a situation are clear:
1) ensure our pupils and staff are safe
2) maintain the work of the school
3) assist the police with their enquiries
4) keep people informed
We have procedures we follow to keep pupils safe and on this occasion it included having staff strategically positioned at interval and keeping pupils on site. We are very fortunate to have very professional staff (teaching and non teaching) who are willing to go to any length to protect young people and keep things calm so that the learning can continue. I cannot praise them highly enough for the actions they took on Friday.
Whilst it was initially unclear where the image came from I can now confirm to pupils, parents and staff that it originated outwith the school. I can also confirm that the section of the press report on Saturday suggesting police “swooped on the school and made an arrest” is not correct. Beyond this I am unable to comment on the police investigation.
Because of our actions to ensure our pupils and staff were safe at interval and the nature of social media we received calls from concerned parents raising all manner of ‘rumours’. Given what we see happening in the world these concerns from parents are understandable. We felt it was important to get a message out and whilst I was unable to say a great deal in this communication it did reassure people the school was running as normal.
I also made contact with the Parent Council chair and jointly we decided to cancel the PTA ‘fright night’ event planned for that evening. Before lunchtime we sent out a second message to offer further reassurance and to confirm ‘fright night’ was cancelled. Throughout the morning we were also keeping in contact with both Aberdeen City Council and Police Scotland.
A sad reality of our world is that we have to prepare for all sorts of possible situations. Colleagues in the Home Office, Police Scotland and Aberdeen City Council have worked with schools to develop approaches to a range of situations. On Friday morning we had to implement some of these approaches and as a result people remained safe/calm and the work of the school continued normal.
We will reflect on what more can be done to keep parents informed but in a world of social media it is difficult to get the communication right as some people know little/nothing and others are picking up all sorts of stories. I will work with parents to see how we might improve the wording of messages to parents.
I trust this update provides; more context/clarity around what happened on Friday and also gives further information about the general approach we take. Finally, I hope the update provides reassurance to pupils, parents and staff around our ability to respond promptly and effectively to such situations if/when they arise.