April 25, 2019
Good Afternoon Pittsfield Public School Families,

This is Jake McCandless, Superintendent of the Pittsfield Public Schools.
Recently, Reid Middle School and the Pittsfield Public Schools have been responding to unsafe activities involving the promotion of violence through both social media and word of mouth, including acts of violence taking place off school grounds, and involving bb guns or pellet/airsoft guns that look like actual weapons. This behavior is extremely dangerous on many levels, including the fact that look-alike weapons can elicit very serious responses from safety personnel.

Although only a small population of students are acting in ways that present a significant risk, all students, staff, and families are impacted.
We want to use this opportunity to remind all families that students who fight or encourage a fight to take place, or students who make threats or make threats that include weapons will receive a suspension of more than ten days and up to 45 days. Students who take and share videos or pictures of the incident will be disciplined as well to the extent that we are able to do so. This action encourages and incites further violence, and the sharing of these images can be used to intimidate or frighten others.
None of this behavior is acceptable.

Suspensions may include an alternative education placement in a location other than our schools.
Additionally, the Pittsfield Police Department will be notified of any and all situations, and are involved in all aspects of dealing with this issue. Charges will be filed where appropriate.

We will not tolerate this type of activity in our schools, on our school grounds, on our busses, or on our routes to and from school. We will not allow the actions of a few to steal positive educational opportunities from the many.
Today we delayed the release of Reid students out of concern about reports we received regarding someone, not a student, that was coming to cause harm at the school. Thanks to the Pittsfield Police Department and district and school staff, we were able to release all students after appropriate safety precautions were taken to ensure a safe exit for all students. While this slowed down our release by over 30 minutes, it is, of course, worth that delay for student and staff safety.

There are reports of a group of Reid students who are attempting to bring weapons to the school. We follow up on each of those reports, lockers are searched, bags are searched, and individuals are searched when called for. The PPD is involved in these efforts where appropriate and legal. No weapons have been found. We ask students and their families to continue to report to the school, district, or PPD anything that concerns you around student or neighborhood safety.

As always, please feel free to be in contact with your questions or concerns. And as always--I thank you for your time. Together we will continue to create a safer community and safer schools.

Jason P. McCandless