From Harford County Public Schools:
As you may be aware, there have been a number of threats reported throughout our school system. We have been working with the Department of Safety and Security and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies to determine there is no valid or supporting evidence found to indicate any credible threat.
School safety is our utmost priority and the members of the administrative teams and security staff will continue to be vigilant in maintaining the safety of Harford County Public Schools. A letter from the Superintendent has been placed on the HCPS website and on each school EdLine page addressing safety in our schools.
Please know that we take all reports and threats seriously and has been our practice, will continue to work cooperatively with public safety and other agencies to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
We need your help to stem the spread of unfounded rumors by talking with your child about responsible social media use, as rumors originate and perpetuate in that forum and can cause undue stress on the school community. The misuse of social media may result in school discipline and serious legal consequences.
Under no circumstances will HCPS tolerate anyone creating a climate of fear for our students, families, and staff. Together we can help keep our schools a safe and comfortable learning environment for our children.
From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
Earlier this evening, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office became aware of the possibility of a threat made by a student against Harford Technical High School. Our investigators thoroughly evaluated the statements that were made, as well as interviewed the student and their family, and at this time, have deemed the threats to be unfounded. Students can anticipate seeing an increased police presence tomorrow morning out of an abundance of caution. We thank everyone who called in information and encourage community members to continue to follow the advice of “see something say something”.
From the Bel Air Police Department:
The Bel Air Police Department, Harford County Public Schools, and supporting agencies are aware of the recent indirect threat to Bel Air High School posted to social media. At this time there is no credible or viable information supporting this threat to our school. There have been several indirect threats on social media referencing other schools in the area as well. All of these threats have been investgated and are unfounded.
Out of precaution, there will be an increased presence of law enforcement officers in and around our schools in the town of Bel Air.
A message on the Harford County Public Schools website:
Dear Harford County Public Schools Community,
I know we are all devastated by the rash of school shootings, the most recent being the horrific act that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. These events cause us to reflect on our practices in Harford County Public Schools (HCPS). We pray that nothing like this ever occurs in our own community. Sadly, we have learned from national incidents that no school or school system can guarantee 100 percent safety of students and staff 100 percent of the time, but I want to reassure our community that safety is our number one priority. We take deliberate and intentional measures to take care of our children by maintaining safe and secure learning environments.
Each Harford County public school follows a critical incident plan which has been developed, vetted and approved by our Office of Safety and Security. The plans are well known and practiced by administrators, staff and students in the building, and provide guidelines for crisis response and prevention.
It is our expectation that the general safety and security practices listed below are followed by all stakeholders who work in or visit our schools:
* All exterior doors are to remain locked throughout the school day;
* Access to buildings is controlled. Visitors must enter the school by going through the front office, provide identification, sign in, and wear a visitor badge during their time in the building;
* Throughout the year we practice a variety of critical incident drills. You can view the “Evacuation Drills and Fire Safety” Policy via the “HCPS Procedures & Board Policies” button on our homepage, www.hcps.org;
* Our School Resource Officer (SRO) program works collaboratively with our Office of Safety and Security on a daily basis.
* There are many other aspects of our overall security program that are not seen by the general public, but which go a long way in helping make our buildings secure. We are not at liberty to discuss these aspects because they involve information we do not want to share with potential perpetrators.
We work very closely with the Harford County Sheriff’s Department and municipal law enforcement agencies to help keep schools safe and secure. We are truly grateful for the partnerships with our local law enforcement agencies.
Please be advised that we are conducting a full review of our safety and security plans as well as our training to ensure we are maximizing our efforts to prevent a tragedy.
Remember, one of our greatest resources is you. Please have conversations at home and at work to help us secure our schools. Please provide information about issues that may be brewing in your school or your community and continue to be alert and attentive students, staff and parents/guardians. We cannot know everything and we rely on you to partner with us in our efforts to keep our schools safe.
If you see something, say something.
Barbara P. Canavan
Superintendent, Harford County Public Schools