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Superintendent's Corner
Related Documents:
Mission and Vision

 

I wanted to take a moment to address some reports/rumors in town and also comment on some of the bigger picture issues around the safety of our students in our schools.

A Dixon High School student was suspended from school beginning last Friday for making a comment about using firearms to shoot students at a rally scheduled for this Friday. The comment made to a friend was overheard by another student who did the right thing and reported it to staff. With the assistance of the Dixon Police Department, site administrators conducted an investigation that found that the student did not mean the comment as a threat and had no intention or plan to carry one out. For lack of a better description, the student felt that they were making a stupid joke. Joking or not, this conduct is a violation of the Education Code and was treated seriously with a five-day suspension from school.

Dixon Police has had extensive contact with the parents of the student responsible for the comments as has the school administration. The family has been cooperative and supportive of the steps taken by both the police and the school and will continue to work with us as we move forward. There is an understanding of the impact of these kind of words and a commitment to not use them again.

To be clear, there was not and is not a direct, active threat to Dixon High or its students. Our rally will be held as scheduled on Friday, with the precautionary presence of members of the Dixon Police Department. Chief Thompson and his officers have been and remain our partners in doing all that we can to keep all of our schools and students safe.

I must say that Dixon High School is a safer place today than when I began serving as its principal 20 years ago. The campus has a much more secure design, our safety policies and procedures are more refined, and most importantly, our students make choices to make it a better place for them than they did 20 years ago. The same is true for all of our schools here in Dixon.

Sadly, like everywhere else in 21stcentury America, safety in our schools can be shattered in a moment. We have seen that again with the recent mass murder in Florida, another shocking incident in what feels like the now regular cycle of extreme violence followed by a period of grief and policy discussion, just to be followed by more violence. It is heart breaking and discouraging. It is not, however, hopeless.

Here’s what I know thirty years into my career in education: Our kids are better than us. They are far from perfect and examples of poor decisions and inappropriate treatment of each other and property are easy to be found, but they offer more respect and acceptance to each other than we adults do, forgive more readily, and are more likely to be open to an opposing view than most of us “grown-ups.” This is a time for us to engage them and listen to them. I am placing my hope in them.

The students at Dixon High School want to and deserve to have their rally on Friday. They also want to be part of improving things here in Dixon and on a wider scale. Let’s help them do so by raising the level of our dialogue, including their voices in it, and remembering that not one of them should ever face the kind of horrors we have seen on our televisions over the last week.

Our Governing Board and I will have a conversation next week about ways to engage more of our community in issues around safety and improving the climate of both our schools and town. Please join us at City Hall, Thursday, March 1, at 7:00 PM to participate or watch on our website and look afterwards for more ways to become involved.

 

Brian Dolan, Superintendent