'Code yellow' concerns parents at Arthur Ford P.S.
Published Friday, September 27, 2013 6:11PM EDT
Some local public school parents are expressing concern about the safety of their children's school after a so-called code yellow at Arthur Ford elementary school this week.
A code yellow is a lot like a lockdown, children are told to stay put and police are called in to help bring a volatile situation under control.
And the incident this week has parents saying the school board is not tough enough on bullies.
Parent Kevin Swallowell says his two boys have been repeatedly bullied over the last six years.
“You know it takes its toll on your confidence and stuff like that too...you know your ability to function socially,” and his fears came to a head this week when police showed up at the school.
Rumours circulated among parents about violence involving a particular child, but citing privacy reasons the Thames Valley District School Board will not say what happened.
On Wednesday the school principal sent out this letter to parents advising them of a code yellow on Tuesday afternoon.
While it doesn't describe the circumstances, it does say that during the "hold and secure" the students remained in their classroom and police were called until the situation was cleared.
The letter also states “please be assured that there were no intruders in the building, no injuries and students were safe at all times.”
TVDSB Superintendent Karen Edgar says the board has strict protocols to deal with bullying, “I'm not going to speak about specific schools, but we work diligently in all schools, all of our schools, on the safety of the staff and students.”
But for Swallowell such answers leave more questions and he's taking matters into his own hands - and has enrolled children in self-defence training.
“I think the school board's dropping the ball. They're not handling this properly at all. This is like a revolving door. They just reluctantly suspend somebody. Bring them back in and just keep going.”
Edgar says “We have lots of procedures in place. We have safety plans. We have behaviour plans and every student in our schools should feel safe coming to school.”
The school board says one of the reasons it sent the letter out was to clear up misinformation, but some parents say the problem is that the letter itself contains very little information leading to even more speculation about what actually happened on Tuesday.