Message from Superintendent Chuck Perry
Staff and Families:
I wanted to communicate with you in regard to several issues that have impacted the Broken Arrow school district over the past several weeks. First and foremost, it saddens me whenever I hear of a loss to one of our own BA family members. My heart goes out to all of those who are directly impacted, and I know yours does too. There has been much attention tied to a recent loss with a group of students protesting across the street from the Freshman Academy off of school grounds. As long as a parent or legal guardian checked their child out of school, there is no discipline consequence for this happening. The only consequence would be if a student was not checked out and refused to attend class when directed by a school employee. School administrators did talk with these students to see if they would be willing to give information tied to bullying or harassment. We hope dialogue will occur next week and any specific incidents that are reported will be investigated. We encourage our students to talk with adults at school because we want to hear their concerns so that they can be appropriately addressed.
The highest priority of our team is the safety of our students when they are within the supervision of our school personnel. Over the last several days, I have seen many posts on social media that are simply not true. It is disheartening to see posts full of misinformation that inhibits our ability to meet the academic needs of our students. We are aware of a video of an assault circulating on social media that is being reported that it happened on school grounds and a death occurred from the fight. I can confirm with you that it did not take place at any Broken Arrow school site nor did a death occur. The Broken Arrow Police Department is handling this investigation and has released a statement regarding the incident which took place on January 18. Rumors tied to this caused many parents to call in an absence for their child today, which resulted in over 500 students absent at the Freshman Academy. I was at the school today and talked with their administrative team and checked-in with the extra security guards that were brought in to ensure a safe environment. I want you to rest assured that any time a concern is brought to the attention of a teacher, counselor, or principal, it is fully investigated and addressed. Please reach out to your site administration if you are aware of any incident of bullying or any other concern pertaining to the safety and well-being of our students. Please encourage your students that if they see something, to say something.
As a district, we have made a commitment to the mental health of our students. We cannot do this alone without the help of our parents and guardians working together with their school. We have to be a team working together. Our schools are places where academic, social, emotional, behavioral learning and mental health intersect. Broken Arrow teachers, counselors and principals work in partnership with embedded therapists and school-based social workers to address the needs of the whole child.
Some specific ways in which we connect students and their families with resources include:
- School counselors who serve as educators, collaborators and consultants in meeting students’ needs and achievement outcomes.
- School-based social workers who assist in removing barriers to school success by connecting students and their families to helpful community resources.
- Embedded-therapists in each of our schools who provide individualized therapeutic support to students during the school day.
- Partnership with the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma to offer parents the option of consenting to a mental health check-up for their student.
In closing, I want you to know how proud I am to be your superintendent. I am always full of hope, confidence and optimism for our future. I believe with all of my heart that our best days are ALWAYS in front of us. I am committed to each of you in living out that belief, and I humbly ask for your partnership and teamwork in creating the absolute best environment for our students where they can truly reach their fullest potential.
Superintendent of Schools