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Acadia Parish school officials address social media impact on school threats and investigations

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ACADIA PARISH, La. (KLFY)- Following Iota High School’s investigation into what police called ‘false rumors’ spread on social media, News 10 spoke to Acadia Parish Superintendent Scott Richard about how social media plays a role in how threats can be spread and how the school handles it.

One thing to note is that it’s not just students using social media to pass on information. Parents are too. Some took to Facebook to share what they’d heard, saying: “This is not meant to start panic, but to inform parents they were not informed of a potential threat.”
Others went on to try to get some answers, asking questions like: “My daughter goes to Iota High, why am I having to hear about this on facebook and as a parent not informed by the school?”

Another said: “All we want is the truth and to be sure our students are safe. That’s my biggest concern. All this talk and gossip isn’t going to correct the situation.”

Richard said,”Social media is obviously a double-edged sword in our society today.”

He went on to explain the district has found that once one incident occurs on a school campus, social media talk leads authorities to many others.

“Often there are by-products of that one incident that occurred which leads to the need to more thoroughly investigate each and every circumstance,” said Richard.

He says, however, he wants to ensure parents and students alike that the district takes all of these matters seriously, “Our number one concern is to make sure that students, parents, staff know that we’re on top of it. We realize that without safety, learning can’t occur.”

Richard says, for students, rather than turning to social media,”It would be a best-case scenario if they would report any issues immediately to an adult on campus.”

And for parents, “If you have a question, call the school, talk to your administrators. They’re here to serve our customers and we would encourage our parents to reach out to the school and ask the questions that they feel they’re needing to ask to ensure that they’re at a comfort level.”

Richard adds the district has a ‘Remind System’ that sends alerts to parents. He says, however, to avoid wide-spread panic, before an alert is sent to parents, the district ensures it’s been thoroughly investigated.
He says the district continues to investigate the series of allegations of misconduct regarding Tuesday’s incident. He says the appropriate actions will be taken.

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