opinion Newport Rhode Island

Dear Newport Parents, Guardians, and Community,
As a follow up to our recent community forums the notes from the meetings as well as the district communication process have been posted on https://www.npsri.net/tmsforuminfo/.

Any and all disciplinary actions for students involved  in the incident are being addressed and cannot be shared per FERPA (Family Education Rights to Privacy Act – it is a federal law). I appreciate and understand your concerns and I want you to know I and the district are addressing all disciplinary matters as best as possible to help ensure our schools are safe. The zero tolerance policy will be supported to its fullest as always. Violence of this nature will not be tolerated at our schools. 

The new procedures for communications have been posted and  implemented. Meetings with the students have taken place, as well as a follow up with the grade 7 & 8 students.  Additional support services have been provided over the past two weeks with outside agencies and as always will continue with our own social workers, nurses, mental health specialists and counselors after the break for our students and families. A special meeting has already taken place on school and student safety with the school committee and they have directed me to get back to them with specific recommendations regarding TMS and safety. The Newport Police Department has been and continues to be very supportive of assisting us with recommendations and discussion.  

The forums were very helpful and approximately 150 people attended all four sessions. The people at the forums identified safety, following and enforcing the zero tolerance policy at all times, communication – especially with parents – both of those that are committing offenses and breaking rules, as well as children that are the targets of bullying and the parents of those being accused of bullying contacted, and listening to our children at all times carefully to what they are trying to communicate to us. More proactive and preventive measures should be taken that enable students the opportunity to speak with adults and feel safe. People encouraged the schools to work with community agencies and parents. Parents would like a more active role and be informed in a timely manner.  There are community members and organizations that have come forward to help provide more supports at TMS and all our schools. 

I, along with other Central Office staff, will continue to work with TMS and all our schools to keep safety a priority for our students, staff, and families.
I wish all of you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season – and look forward to a brighter 2019 for all.

Colleen Burns Jermain, Ed.D.Superintendent of Newport Public Schools109 Old Fort RoadNewport, RI    02840