Jamestown Schools Superintendent Responds To Student Safety Concerns

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Officials are responding to concerns at Jamestown High School, after a local mother spoke out about her son’s bullying this week.

Harassment both on, and off, of school grounds isn’t a new problem at JHS, however the school’s superintendent is reassuring parents he, and his staff, are doing everything they can to crack down.

“Any report, of course, of anything that is dangerous we’re going to take very seriously and that goes for bullying all the way to any reports of weapons,” said Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker. “Should there be anything founded, should there be anything that is uncovered as a result of those investigations, it will be treated very seriously.”

While Superintendent Whitaker can’t specifically speak to last Friday’s incident where a member of the so called “Young and Deadly” gang harrased 15-year-old Yadiel Diaz, prompting his mother to speak out exclusively to WNY News Now, the Superintendent isn’t taking this incident lightly.

Since our story aired, several parents called for stepped up security in school. Specifically, seeking metal detectors. However this seems ineffective, according to Whitaker. 

“In 2015, the federal government did an audit on the TSA and they brought, with permission, they brought weapons, and bombs, and explosives through that system, and the percentage that got through is shocking. Some people might say, I don’t know ten percent, one percent? 95 percent of those got through,” Whitaker explained.

The superintendent instead is working to create a see something, say something environment.

“Developing relationships with kids and parents is paramount. That’s the absolute most important thing we can do in terms of communication. If a student doesn’t have any kind of relationship with any kind of adult, you’re not going to get any kind of information from that student if they’re in a state of anxiety or trouble or concern,” Whitaker said.

Moreover, the Superintendent says the best way to avoid problems in the future, is to engage in open communication.

“The reason that we’re here is to learn, and it’s very difficult to learn if you have a concern or you’re anxious or you have a worry, so I would encourage folks to get in touch with their teachers or their principals, whoever their child has a good relationship with, and if they want to call we are all ears. We are partners in this,” said Whitaker. “I think the big thing is it’s not one person or one activity, it is a collection of all sorts of things from proactive things to relationships to parents in communication with the school staff to our SRO program to partnerships between community and school. There are lots of different things that go into this.”


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