Dear Black Rock Middle School Families,
I’m writing today to let you know that Lower Merion Township Police were at our school today, investigating threats of violence against specifically named individuals and against groups within our BRMS community. The threats were shared on Discord beginning in January 2023, allegedly by BRMS students. The threats came to the attention of adults over this past weekend, when screenshots of the threats were shared in a group chat among at least 14 people. A parent who saw that group chat notified the school this morning and we immediately called in LMPD.
The police, together with BRMS/LMSD staff, are in the early stage of their investigation, working to verify the identity of the student who made the threats, who had knowledge of the threats, as well as those who were threatened. District personnel are conducting threat assessments following our Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) process. At this time, these investigations do not indicate that any member of the BRMS community is in danger as a result of these threats. In addition, no specific threat has been identified for the present time or the immediate future.
While I won’t share the specific language used, I can say that 10 individuals, as well as specific groups were named. The language used was extremely disturbing. The fact that none of the threats was acted on in the past five months does not lessen the threats’ seriousness. The student who made the threats will face appropriate consequences. These may include legal, school-level and mental health interventions. The school will be offering supports to the people who were threatened as well.
I want to be clear – and we will reinforce this message with students – ALL threats of violence should be reported IMMEDIATELY directly to the police or to the Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System. I am meeeting with all students this afternoon to reassure them about their safety in our school, and as I shared in my letter last week, we are meeting with every team this week to remind all students of expectations and the importance of speaking up.
Our school staff cannot do this work alone. Please, monitor your children’s use of technology. As parents and guardians, we have a responsibility to know where our children are and to ensure that they are safe. We have the same responsibility in the online world. We have seen numerous instances in our school, and elsewhere in the Lower Merion School District, in which students used unsafe or inappropriate language in group chats or on sites like Discord. Last week, I shared how inappropriate language used in-person can escalate and cause danger. The same is true of language used online.
We will share a follow-up communication on the investigations and threat assessment related to this incident in the coming days.
Sarah M. Stout
Principal, Black Rock Middle School