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Knife on BSES Campus

 

Last updated 4/4/2022 at 9:38am



An incident at Borrego Springs Elementary School has many parents wondering, “how could this happen” and really, “why?”

On March 16, a pocket knife was identified on campus being carried by a student who attempted to use it on another classmate. It is not clear what provoked the altercation. The names of both students are being withheld, as they are minors. Before the situation was taken any further, BSES staff intervened.

Sherrilynn Polanco, Principal of Borrego Springs Elementary said that, “BSUSD is committed to student safety, and every single staff member in our district cares deeply about the students we serve. We are unable to comment about the specifics of an ongoing investigation, hoping that parents understand that we don’t discuss situations that don’t involve their own children, just as we don’t discuss situations that their children are involved in with other people. Our bar for protecting students’ right to privacy is especially high since our students are mostly minors.”

“We can confirm that a small pocket knife was brought to campus on Wednesday March 16. While we won’t be giving further specifics of the incident, our investigation reveals that there was not an “attack,” and thankfully no students were harmed. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevents us from disclosing any information related to student discipline. We take this situation very seriously, acted immediately to keep students safe the day of the incident, and have already identified and implemented steps to improve safety going forward.”

Polanco added, “Every person who is involved in a given situation deserves the right to be heard and understood, and an investigation with those aims in mind takes time to complete. We will be performing a retrospective analysis to identify any ways in which we can improve going forward, so that we may better serve our students and keep providing the already safe environment that exists at Borrego Springs’ schools. Finally, we would like to ask that people remember to take what they read on the internet with a grain of salt. These days we can all benefit from taking a breath before we respond, giving each other a little more grace and to understand another person’s point of view.”

The parents of the child are wondering why they were not notified immediately of the incident, but instead, learned about it from their child. The parents also have filed a police report.

Many are beginning to worry of why and how this could happen in such a small community like Borrego Springs, but also, “why is communication not transparent enough?” Parents are calling for changes in the protocol in hopes of preventing something like this from happening again, as well as better communication not just with the school and its administration, but including the School Board.

A parent of a student who does attend Borrego Springs Elementary said they, along with other parents, are planning to attend a school board meeting to advocate change, and encourage other parents, even community members to join. They would like to express their concerns and discontent with the situation and how it was handled, but to also provide suggestions to the Board, in hopes of their considerations to update the protocols and other rules. Parents are also looking for “more accountability,” as they shared that this is not the first of incidents they have felt displeasure and concern for.

“We just want a safe school for our children and we want to be able to trust that the school and its administration will protect them. No parent should drop their child off to school and be worried if they will be OK, worried if they will be looked out for or even if they are cared for,” one parent commented.

Another said, “There have been so many previous incidents that have been kept quiet just to uphold the integrity of the school, but why does that mean sacrificing the safety of my children and the learning environment.”

Polanco shared that BSUSD cares for its students, as it is “clearly demonstrated in the daily work of supporting, guiding and teaching our students.” She adds, “Forming positive relationships with students and families is important to us. We always strive to keep parents informed, and indeed have been consistently complimented by parents about the effective way we use tools such as email, phone calls, text messages, paper flyers, our School Messenger App and Class Dojo to keep parents in the loop as much as possible.”

Disciplinary action has been taken for the student in possession of the pocket knife, but parents are saying that it is not enough for what occurred.

The parents’ of the other student in the incident have not decided if they will be taking any legal action.

The investigation is still ongoing, and any further information will be in coming issues of the Borrego Sun.

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