Administrators at Miller Junior High School in Aberdeen used an inappropriate conversation as a teachable moment yesterday after students were overheard talking about a school shooting.

An email sent to parents of Miller Junior High students yesterday explained that a staff member reported overhearing students talking about a school shooting. The staff member intervened, stopping the conversation and using the opportunity as a teachable moment in the classroom about school appropriate conversations. The staff member also reported the conversation to school administration.

2014 Active Shooter Training at MJH in Aberdeen

Our photos are from an Active Shooter training event at Miller Junior High in 2014.

Upon investigation, the administration determined that the conversation about a school shooting was not a threat, but a joke that was not an appropriate conversation for a school setting. Conversations like these can cause fear and a disruption to the learning environment.

Administrators at the district said that “Miller Junior High and the Aberdeen School District are committed to the safety and well-being of all our students at all times. We take reports such as these seriously and thoroughly investigate.”

The investigation includes a referral to the Aberdeen Police Department.

The district also detailed their security measures, “Our school has a detailed school safety plan. Our district has a School Resource Officer, an Aberdeen Police Officer. We have a comprehensive visitor check-in and check-out system located at the front desk in our schools designed to help ensure that no unauthorized person enters. All visitors and volunteers must wear their name badges in plain sight at all times while on school grounds during the school day. After school starts, our exterior doors are locked. This school year we added additional security cameras that can link to law enforcement during an emergency.”

The district reminded parents/guardians and staff how important it is to maintain open communication with children — about what they are seeing on television an on-line, about how they deal with anger and frustration, and about their relationships with other students.

They added, “We remind students that they have an obligation to themselves and to their classmates to bring information about dangerous situations to adults at the school so that we can respond quickly and appropriately to protect their safety. Our students also have a responsibility to keep conversations school appropriate.”

You can help make schools safer, too, by not passing along the rumors you hear but, instead, reporting them to a school administrator who will then investigate and turn it over to the police, if necessary.

The email yesterday concluded, “Thank you for all you do to keep Miller Junior High a safe and supportive learning environment.”