Advocate editorial board opinion: Bay City incident provides examples of what to do
By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 5, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Updated Jan. 4, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
Keith Brown, Bay City school district superintendent, initiated the correct response - taking it seriously - when he received a terroristic handwritten letter at the end of December.
He immediately turned the letter over to the Texas Department of Public Safety in Houston for analysis. In the letter, the writer threatened to kill students if nine rules laid out in the letter were not followed.
Now, the news of this deed has been aired on national news programs, such as CNN's Headline News. And elite law enforcement personnel are investigating. We are confident the letter writer will be caught and soon.
We can safely say that the letter equates to a terroristic threat, and we praise Brown for his level-headedness and actions in light of the threats to his two daughters. We can point to this situation and urge all school districts to use this event as a case study of what to do when terror strikes.
Brown communicated with parents via a letter explaining the situation. In the letter, he provided the terroristic letter's content. Keeping parents informed of the situation and what is being done was tantamount in avoiding chaos.
He insisted on heightened security at schools in the district and asked administration, staff and faculty to raise and keep their awareness of danger signs in the district's environment.
He has informed all law enforcement of the situation, as well as the Attorney General, prompting a serious, high-level investigation
He is keeping school open although attendance had dropped to 50 percent on the first day back Tuesday from the Christmas holidays. We think keeping the school open is important to return to normalcy and to keep state required attendance.
While school is open in Bay City, Brown says he will ask for a waiver for student absences from the Texas Education Agency. We urge the TEA to grant those waivers because of the terroristic circumstances the school district is undergoing. No one should blame parents for wanting to protect their children.
Brown promised to keep parents in the know about any turn of events in the case. All through this incident, Brown has set the tone with a no-nonsense approach. As leader of his school district, he has kept things in order.
Overall, this procedure has worked; it is a good model to follow if this sort of threat occurred in another school district.
Again, we praise Brown for his response. And we thank him for showing us what we should do in a similar situation.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.