Letter to the Editor: Police Chief, School Superintendent Urges, ‘Say the Right Thing for Safety’

| December 1, 2014 | 0 Comments | News

schoolbusCo-written by Stephan M. Hudson, Chief, Prince William Police, and
Steven L. Walts, Superintendent, Prince William County Public Schools

See something. Say Something.

Everyone from school kids to commuters know the drill, and should. In today’s uncertain world, reporting even a small threat could save a life.

Several times in the past year Prince William County Public School students helped protect themselves, their classmates and their community by responsibly reporting potential risks. Students warned teachers about possible firearms or about strangers whose presence sparked concern.

We can’t say these responsible actions saved lives or prevented harm. But they were valuable. Information provided to the right person–a teacher, parent or police officer—can make a world of difference.

Unfortunately, information—or specifically, misinformation—can also do damage.  All too often, students and adults alike repeat discredited rumors, prompting worry, wasting time and making concerned parents question whether children are safe at school.

Police and school personnel take reports of threats or other potential dangers very seriously; all are promptly and thoroughly investigated. Any necessary action is immediately taken to ensure safety. And that includes sharing factual information with the public.

When action or even special caution is needed to protect our students or our schools, you will know it. Factual information will be posted on school and police web and Facebook pages, and communicated through other official channels. In the absence of that kind of confirmation, repeating stories of potential danger is merely spreading idle rumors. It helps no one. At best, it prompts unneeded fear and distraction. At worst, it leads others to ignore future warnings that could reveal real dangers.

So please remember: If you see something say something–to the right people. Recent events remind us that unfortunate things can and do happen. But please, avoid spreading idle rumors. Speaking up at the right time and to the right people is the best way to keep us all safe and secure.

Note from Bristow Beat: Bristow Beat stays in contact with spokespersons from Prince William County Schools and Prince William Police Department, and is considered by them an official media contact in the county. While you can trust official media contacts and what is posted on their websites, readers cannot always trust what is written in the comment section on social media sites. Bristow Beat is not able to guarantee that comments posted on Bristow Beat’s or Haymarket Beat’s social media pages by readers and commenters always contain accurate information.


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