Dr. Hanlin sits down to address SMS concerns

SALISBURY, Md – After multiple requests for a sit-down interview in regards to events at Salisbury Middle School, Wednesday the Wicomico Board of Education agreed to talk. 47 ABC was given 15 minutes to ask Superintendent Dr. Donna Hanlin questions that were brought to us by parents concerning a lack of transparency, school fights, and disciplinary actions.

“We believe in transparency, we want to say as much as we can, but when we start getting into the details of the incidents that have occurred, it is better for those kinds of conversations, if they are going to occur, to be happening with the administration and the principal and the parents or the guardians of the children involved,” said Dr. Donna Hanlin.

On the issue of communication, Dr. Hanlin says it’s her expectation that the principal or BOE communications office relay information to parents about incidents when they happen and then follow-up with another message that evening.

However, on the issue of how much information they can share, she says there’s only so much they can disclose.

“There are certain laws that we have to follow, student privacy issues that we have to be concerned with,” Dr. Hanlin said while adding that if parents want more details that they can and should reach out directly to the school principal.

Dr. Hanlin also says the schools are also bound to disciplinary guidelines set by the state, not the BOE, that make it harder to reprimand students.

“I wouldn’t be being truthful if I said to you that it doesn’t sometimes make it tough, but we are, we are creative within that,” said Dr. Hanlin.

As far as keeping other students safe, Dr. Hanlin says last week they put students in a “modified safe in place”. Parents told 47ABC that during some of those instances students were left alone and locked in classrooms, but Dr. Hanlin said those rumors are untrue.

“Doors are not being locked keeping students in the classrooms, that is not the case. They are going about their normal school day, they’re just being walked from class to class,” Dr. Hanlin said.

She also adds that those practices are only necessary because certain students have shown the inability to handle certain freedoms.

“We’re talking about a small group of students, but it’s a group of students who are creating these issues at Salisbury Middle specifically,” Dr. Hanlin said.

But the issue that concerns everyone seems to be these fights that seemingly are planned ahead of time on social media.

“If they come to school with a plan in mind, on the bus ramp, it’s very, very difficult to prevent that from happening if we don’t know it,” Dr. Hanlin said.

That’s why now, more than ever she’s asking for parent buy-in on teaching their children about appropriate behavior in school otherwise other actions will be taken.

“If that’s not the case then we are already working on some meetings with individuals within the criminal justice world to work on how we can make sure that not only students are accountable, but parents are accountable too,” Dr. Hanlin said.


Categories: Education, Local News, Maryland