Lancaster ISD Silent About How Mental Health Issues Are Being Addressed
LANCASTER – The Lancaster ISD chose not to release any further information regarding a student who jumped from a second floor stairwell at Lancaster Middle school this week. According to Lancaster Parent Support on Facebook, “Other students did witness this incident and an adult family member of the student who jumped was at the school when it happened.”
“The statement is what we are providing to the media,” said Kimberly Simpson Chief of Communications, Lancaster Independent School District. “We will not give any further comments regarding the incident that occurred yesterday.”
Thus, as usual, leaving more questions than answers.
The statement provided said “Today Lancaster Middle School was placed on a brief hold, and teachers refrained from allowing students to enter the hallways, due to an incident involving one student who jumped off the second-floor stairwell inside of the middle school lobby. We understand that this information may be alarming to read; however, we are thankful we can report that the student is now recovering in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No other students on campus were involved in this incident or around when the incident occurred.”
A letter to parents also noted “We will always maintain a safe and secure learning environment, and we thank our teachers and students for immediately implementing our campus rules and protocols for an all-campus hold while our staff responded to this incident.”
The superintendent’s office did not respond to questions about the rules and protocols nor how many children were in the vicinity during the incident.
One parent that reached out to Focus stated they were upset the incident happened around lunchtime but they weren’t notified until after 4pm. Another parent expressed concern stating her child witnessed the incident which conflicts with the statement the school issued. Parents took to social media asking questions and looking for facts among the many rumors regarding the incident. They wanted to know if bullying was involved and if the school was providing relevant facts.
The release went on to state “We have informed all parents with this information to provide them with an opportunity to address this incident and the importance of mental health awareness with their child as they deem appropriate for their family. We have arranged for extra counselors to be available at Lancaster Middle School tomorrow for any student who may feel they need additional support.”
No further information about how many students sought the services of a counselor and what might be done to assure such an incident does not happen in the future was discussed.
Our thoughts are with the family of the student as well as those on campus impacted by the incident.
Mansfield ISD’s school shooting
The importance of transparency continues to be at the forefront in regard to how local ISDs disperse information to the community.
Last week, in nearby Arlington, a shooting at Timberview High School left four people injured with the suspect facing multiple charges of aggravated assault with a gun.
Following that incident, Mansfield ISD held a Town Hall meeting on safety and security where Arlington’s Police Chief said they found ‘no evidence of bullying’. Jones said, “Mr. Simpkins was involved in some high-risk activity and that high-risk activity lead to this shooting.” However, Mr. Simpkins attorney Kim Cole held a press conference stating she has evidence of bullying and asking the Chief to refrain from further comments,
In relation to any issue regarding the mental health and safety in schools around the area, while local ISDs do say they are taking steps to confirm security for all on campus as well as mental health support, the one thing not being discussed in some cases is the transparency of the incidents. In order for a community to be positively involved in helping with an overall situation, it must first be made more aware of incidents and what is needed in order to help.