January 27, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Safety concern prompts letter to parents

The system worked how it is supposed to.


That is what St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks stressed in a letter he sent to parents on Saturday.


The letter told parents about an incident the district was dealing with regarding student safety.


“Last night we received an anonymous report through our online incident report regarding some comments made by a student on Friday at school that alarmed the person who initiated this report,” the letter stated.


The school then contacted the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and they began investigating the report.


“The investigation is ongoing, but it has been determined by the Sheriff’s Office that at this point the comments made had no ill intent and there is no more reason for student or safety concerns than there would be on any other day,” the letter stated.


Brooks said the district is very proud of the student who let them know about the situation.


“ We are not able to act on information unless we know about it,” he said.   “Our students are typically our best eyes and ears so we tell them that if they hear or see anything that draws any concern at all to them, or even just doesn’t seem right in general, please report it to someone or fill out an incident report form so that the appropriate people can address and handle the situation.”


Brooks said the student that filled out the incident report was alarmed by what they heard and acted appropriately.


“We are very appreciative of that,” he said.


Brooks said that he sent the letter to parents on Saturday because he believes very strongly in transparency with any information that the district can legally share.


“I want our parents, guardians and students to know what is going on at the school and with their children,” he said. “Our parents, guardians and students deserve that, and at the end of the day we are all in this together as a school and community in the best interest of our students.”


Brooks said the district takes any comment made that may affect student or staff safety very seriously.


“Whether a person is determined through proper investigation to have ill intentions or not behind their comments, it will be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly,” he said. “Student and staff safety is of the utmost importance at SJO, as I’m sure it is at other school districts as well.”


Brooks said keeping students and staff safe is a team effort that includes not only those at the school but the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.


“We greatly appreciate it when people step forward to provide us with information that we may not be aware of so that we can act appropriately on that information,” he said. “We work side by side with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office on student safety matters, and they have been outstanding over the years in their efforts in assisting SJO to keep our students and staff safe.”

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