District Statement Concerning A Recent Assault

Dear Parents,
I am writing to you tonight in response to the recent and horrific assault that occurred over the weekend.  It is clear from social media posts, press coverage and conversations with local police and parents that the assault perpetrated by several teenagers against another student just off the Viking Trail was appalling, violent and disturbing.  Not only was the act of assault bad enough, but it was used as a vehicle for making threats against others.  It was these threats that led the district, out of the utmost caution and on the advice of the local police, to move the high school and middle school temporarily to remote learning this week.  It is clear that the behavior of this group of teens had a significant impact on the education of students in Oxford Hills.
The fact that it occurred off school grounds and outside of the school day does not prevent the district from exploring opportunities for additional discipline.  The police are investigating the assault and other incidents and charges have been filed.  The district is  investigating the behavior of those who participated in the assault, and we will act appropriately if we find that their action interfered with the rights of students to participate in educational opportunities. 
Bullying behaviors exist in every aspect of our society, and the schools in Oxford Hills are no exception.  We applaud the parents and students who had the courage to report the violence to local police.  It is important that students speak up for themselves and others.  Bullying behaviors can only be addressed when there is a credible report and a thorough investigation.  The district has a strong no bullying policy, investigation practice, and a code of conduct that is adhered to and taken seriously.  When reported, bullying is taken seriously: the district provides several opportunities for bullying reports to be made, both in person and anonymously on our webpage.   The district will continue to make available counselors and social workers to assist students with peer interactions, bullying issues and other concerns.
We want to recognize that the despicable acts of a few are not reflective of a vast majority of the students attending Oxford Hills schools nor the community as a whole. We need to acknowledge the act and resolve to prevent it from happening in our community. 
Rick Colpitts