Dear HHS Families,
Thank you to the families who joined us for Meet the Faculty Night last Thursday, and to those of you who stopped by to say hello to me at our Meet the Principal event! It was great to see so many families and so much positive energy in our community. Please join me in thanking our faculty, staff, and our Meet the Faculty Night planning team for hosting such a wonderful event - and a huge thank you goes to the Haverhill Education Coalition for helping put on the Meet the Principal event for me to meet so many of you.
With our courses diving deeper into their content, our fall sports seasons in full swing, and our clubs and activities up and running, we have been thrilled to see so many of our Hillie scholars engaged positively in the wonderful opportunities our community has to offer. However, as I’ve shared with you, over the last week we have continued to experience concerns with the behavior of a small number of our scholars, specifically related to the “devious licks” social media-inspired vandalism and the inappropriate use of social media more generally at school. Please know that while there have been several unacceptable acts of vandalism, these acts have been mainly minor. Rumors of large scale destruction of property are inaccurate. It is our expectation that all vandalism will stop immediately, and consequences for engaging in vandalism, mischief, or aberrant behavior will be swift and stern. Any student involved in destructive acts will be required to pay restitution for the damage and will face other school-based consequences. Our school must be physically and emotionally safe for all students and staff.
I want to share with you some of the steps we are taking to address these behaviors that your scholars will experience at school this week. These include meeting with all scholars to remind them of our expectations, adjusting our lunchtime schedule, norms, and routines, increasing adult presence in our hallways and monitoring our bathrooms, and assigning school-based consequences to scholars engaged in inappropriate behavior. Additionally, we will continue to forward concerns about vandalism to our School Resource Officer and to work in close partnership with the Haverhill Police Department. HPD will have an increased, supportive presence in our school in the coming days.
I want to be clear - we have a zero tolerance policy for this disruptive, destructive, and hurtful behavior. And our Personal Device Use Policy states clearly that scholars are not allowed to take or capture images or recordings with their cell phones at any time without prior approval from a teacher or an administrator. We have removed access to Snapchat and TikTok on our HPS network, and we expect that students are not using these or other social media at school.
I’m confident that with these steps in place, we will quickly see improvements in behavior school wide. However, we cannot do this work alone - we need your support. Please speak with your scholar(s) about this behavior. Listen to their concerns. Remind them of the importance of respecting our school - every member of our community and every physical space on our campus. And ask them to demonstrate leadership by doing the right thing, telling their peers to do the same, and reporting any concerns immediately to a trusted adult.
Finally, review our 2021-22 HHS Student Handbook with your scholar. Translated versions of the handbook in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Arabic will be made available to you as soon as possible - we apologize for our delay in giving you access to these translations.
We will continue to share any concerns we have with you - along with our faculty and staff, you will be the first to know. We are deeply appreciative of your support.
Make it a great week, #HillieNation!
All the best,