ITHACA, N.Y. — In a letter sent to parents Tuesday, the Ithaca City School District superintendent said officials will not be informing the public about whether a student charged with threatening to “shoot up” an Ithaca school will be expelled or suspended.
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Jacob Rollins-Young, 17, was charged late on Monday with felony making a terroristic threat, the Ithaca Police Department said in a news release. He is accused of threatening to kill a female student and shoot other students at the Ithaca High School cafeteria.
In an email sent to parents Sunday, officials said Rollins-Young would not be on campus for the rest of the week. The email, which included the district’s plan to increase police presence on campus this week, can be read in its entirety here.
In the latest email from district Superintendent Luvelle Brown, he says that the school will not be stating whether the student is expelled. He did not clarify whether the district will be informing teachers, students or the public about whether Rollins-Young is permitted on campus.
Citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, he wrote, “We are not in a position to share any details regarding any school-based discipline imposed on this student.”
Several teachers, who agreed to speak to The Voice anonymously, said that as of Tuesday afternoon they have not been given further instruction regarding Rollins-Young from officials.
A woman who answered a call to Brown’s public phone extension at the district Tuesday refused to answer why the district previously revealed in a public email sent to parents that Rollins-Young would be out of school for the rest of the week. She refused to provide her name and refused to transfer an Ithaca Voice reporter to Brown or her boss for further clarification on the matter.
Two phone calls and an email to school officials requesting comment and clarification about the incident have gone unreturned as of 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The letter sent to parents can read in its entirety below:
Dear ICSD Community:
Each day teachable moments significantly shape the lives of our students and adults. On Saturday, March 12, 2016 an Ithaca City School District student used social media to threaten gun violence to the entire Ithaca High School community. Concerned students reported the threats to principal Jason Trumble. On the same day, Mr. Trumble and the Ithaca Police Department (IPD) immediately began an investigation. The school administrators pursued faceto-face interviews with witnesses and families through the weekend.
As the Ithaca High School and IPD investigations evolved, a robo-call and email were distributed on Sunday, March 13th to inform all Ithaca High School families about the threat and safety precautions. A student was arrested by Ithaca police on Monday, March 14th and charged with making terrorist threats, a felony. The student will be on day supervision until a March 24th court date.
I have received many emails and phone calls with questions or requests for details about school discipline. When students are suspended, they are not allowed on school property. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) disallow me or any other school district employee from sharing personally identifiable information. Accordingly, we are not in a position to share any details regarding any school-based discipline imposed on this student.
Environments that are conducive to thinking and learning require collaborative efforts. Examples of the positive collaborations include the conversations that occurred this past weekend. Many students bravely alerted Ithaca High School administrators, myself, and peers of the threats and inappropriate exchanges on social media. Students’ upstanding behaviors represent a positive commitment to their peer group and love for our community. Our culture of love is patient, kind, and forgiving. This loving approach must be afforded to all students and adults, especially during challenging situations.
Luvelle Brown, Ed.D
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