Hulbert parents say they’re worried about safety at schools | News | #schoolsaftey

Parents raised concerns during a special Hulbert School Board of Eduction meeting Thursday, about an incident involving a staff member last month.

During the public comment portion, five people were signed up to speak, but two deferred their time to Samantha Hendron, giving her nine minutes to talk. Hendron also gave a written copy of her speech to the board of education. According to the letter, Hendron said that after an event took place Sept. 22, the safety of HPS students was “questionable” because the situation was not handled properly.

“Both parents and students alike have become very alarmed and afraid for the safety of our students to the point of removing them from your school,” Hendron wrote. “When a threat is made, whether from student to student, student to teacher, teacher to teacher, or teacher to student, it should be taken seriously. Threats are not jokes; they are misdemeanors. When a threat’s made, that person should be fully investigated, witnesses should be taken seriously, especially when multiple are involved, mental evaluations performed and the person removed from the school – as you did for a student wrongly accused last year, which was also unannounced. We even have a safety threat assessment for students, but not faculty.”

According to a past Tahlequah Daily Press article, an investigation by law enforcement took place Sept. 22 after comments were purportedly made by a staff member at HPS. Authorities found the threat to be not credible. A statement released by Hulbert Public Schools indicated the staff member was was put on administrative leave.

“Threats, credible or not, should have been announced to all parents and guardians through text or phone calls,” Hendron stated in the letter. “We understand no one wants to create mass hysteria; however, simple wording could have prevented that.”

Hendron’s letter alleged students were being told they were “liars and ridiculous,” and were threatened with In School Suspension for being “afraid.”

“Right now, the system is failing these students,” Hendron wrote. “We are pushing that these matters are investigated further and not left where they have been.”

HPS declined to make further comment.

“The safety and security of Hulbert students, staff and families is always our top priority,” the past HPS statement from Sept. 22 stated.

The board approved the 2024 estimate of needs, as well as the budget for the same school year. The budget for this coming school year will be $6,300,157.23.

“We get the estimate of needs from the auditor,” Choate said. “Our board approves it. Then we send it to the county excise board. They approve it then it comes back to us. Our board then approves it again.”

The Altria Settlement Offer was approved, which Choate said was related to a class action against JUUL Labs. The process of the lawsuit began during the last school year, and several districts across the U.S. and municipalities were involved. The settlement amount for Hulbert was $2,524, based on school population.

“We haven’t received it yet,” Choate said. “But … I will split that between my elementary and my middle school/high school, and I will let the safe schools committee [decide]; that way have some input from teachers in the classroom and there are students and parents who sit on that committee.”

Funds were given the allowance by the board to be transferred between Activity Fund subaccounts. Choate said during the Homecoming celebration, donations were collected from community members and organizations for Student Council for prizes for related activities.

The 2024 School Election Resolution to Cherokee County Election Board will set an election for board seat No. 4, currently held by Rachel Dallis. The board reapproved the Compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act. The compliance acknowledges HPS students are protected through monitoring and a Lightspeed content filters to make sure inappropriate subjects and content are not accessible.

Baylee Hall was approved as an adjunct teacher of physical education for the elementary and geography and world history at the high school. Bryan Arnall was accepted as the maintenance/transportation director and Frank McCully will be the maintenance assistant director.

What’s next

The Hulbert School Board of Education will meet again Nov. 13 at the auditorium at 5:30 p.m.

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