VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (KSNW) — USD 262 officials announced Wednesday that the school district will hold classes on Thursday after canceling classes Wednesday following threats the district received.
The school administration sent parents an email updating what will be done to keep students safe as classes continued:
“As law enforcement have been thoroughly investigating and handling the reports of possible threats, there will be school for all USD 262 students tomorrow. We are sharing with you updates regarding the school day tomorrow and going forward:
- There will be an increased law enforcement presence in and around our schools.
- There will be an increased number of officers who are monitoring our buildings and grounds after school hours.
- There will be additional officers at athletic events home and away.
- Counselors and social workers are available to students to visit with if needed.
- The Valley Center police department is working alongside the Park City police department, with support from the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office to keep our students and staff safe.
- Only visitors with previously scheduled appointments will be allowed inside district buildings.
Parents/guardians – please be aware of what is happening with your child’s interactions on social media. This might be a good opportunity to encourage your child or children to step away from social media to reduce their risk of exposure to negative comments. Additionally, turning off the location of their devices might be helpful. Also, please report any threats directly to 911.“
School officials said they are working “proactively” to keep families safe and are working with local and regional law enforcement regarding the threats.
USD 262 also said if parents are still uncomfortable sending their kids to school tomorrow, it will be considered an excused absence to keep their children home. They ask parents to contact their school to communicate.
The update from USD 262 comes after an incident at a boy’s basketball game against Topeka High where Topeka fans allege that some Valley Center students and fans were calling out racist slurs and shouting other insults.
A statement from the Valley Center school district says the district has not found any evidence of racist remarks being made during or following the basketball game. However, it says that Valley Center High School and Topeka High School administrators are working together to investigate the claims.
The statement also addresses Kansas State High School Activities Association’s (KSHSAA) role in the investigation. Assistant Executive Director Jeremy Holaday says that he’s hopeful this will not lead to banning Valley Center students from attending future games this season.
“We’ve obviously done it for unusual circumstances, but that’s something, again, this situation we don’t – we really don’t want to see that get there … but this is the first game of the year and not to give excuses to anybody, but there’s not been a pattern, or anything like that I guess is the point to say here with Valley Center, so they’re going to take it serious,” said Holaday.
Holaday also says that until the organization knows more, “it’d be wrong for us to suggest that there’s a punishment coming from KSHSAA.”
In regards to a timeline, Holaday says that no one is in a hurry to complete this investigation. He says that all parties involved do not want to rush this and ensure that any “learning corrections” that may be needed are developed properly.
Both districts are asking for community support and grace throughout the process.