Arlee School District reviews policy after input about weapon incident

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Although a band of snow wreaked havoc just before and during an Arlee school board meeting, it didn’t deter at least 100 people from attending.

Arlee Schools Superintendent Jim Baldwin said that parents and community members expressed their concerns to the school board regarding an incident the week prior where a male juvenile student took a weapon to school.

“It was, for the most part, pretty well-spirited conversations,” Baldwin said Monday, Nov. 12, by phone.

DISTRICT OFFICIALS received heavy criticsm following the incident, in which officials decided not to notify parents and guardians of students immediately about the situation on Oct. 31, which Baldwin previously said was “quickly defused.”

Baldwin sent out notification on Thursday, Nov. 1.

“I know people want to be informed better and we made the decision since there was no immediate danger, not to inform right away,” Baldwin said of the incident.

Elizabeth Kaleva, counsel for the Arlee school district, said that while there is safety protocol in place in the district policy, it referred to a lockdown situation, which was not the case regarding the Oct. 31 incident.

Baldwin said Monday morning that the situation has given administration and board members the opportunity to review the notification policy, and a “revamped” version was expected to be presented to the school board Tuesday evening with those changes possibly being adopted.

“We’re bringing all of this to the table so that people understand we’re working on this,” Baldwin said, adding that in the future, if a similar situation were to arise then the district would be “better prepared.”

Baldwin also said that there were mistakes that were made, and working with the community can help administration learn.

“The biggest mistake was not being prepared as well as we should have been,” he said.

GOING THROUGH the school district’s policy, which was written before be began his position as superintendent last fall, Baldwin said there was very little in the verbage in terms of how to inform people of the situation.

The question of the district’s policy comes after the Charlo school district held a special meeting last month, where its own policies were discussed with students, parents, community members and school board officials.

STUDENTS FROM three athletic teams were suspended after it was discovered they were not following guidelines in the Charlo District policy, and the question of how the “.

Baldwin said that the Arlee district decided to revisit their own athletic policies after learning about the Charlo district incidences.

“Usually when these situations happen, you find out how good or poor your policy is,” Baldwin said.

The district’s policy can be found by visiting www.arleeschools.org/Page/328

School board meetings take place at the school District Business Office, 7200 Fyant St., at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

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