Statement regarding recent Social Media Speculation

The Academy would like to respond to a situation that has been the subject of some recent parental concern and social media speculation.

During the week ending Friday 15th March, staff were made aware of the possibility that a student may have been in possession of a knife. The matter was immediately addressed and investigated thoroughly. A team of experienced, senior staff managed the situation and took care to gather relevant evidence and the opinions of colleagues from Northumbria Police, South Tyneside Local Authority and our own Directors of the Trust. A risk assessment was carried out and a strategy put into place. Carefully considered decisions were made and the matter was brought to a close. While these conversations were on-going, at no stage was the safety of Harton staff and students compromised by this issue.

Given the current high profile nature of knife related incidents in society, we fully appreciate and share the concerns of parents and students whenever safety may be perceived to be threatened. Many staff at Harton are parents also and would like to make assurances that we take such matters very seriously indeed. We have adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to carrying knives and all students should know that should they carry a knife, or make threats involving knives, they risk Police involvement and permanent exclusion from school.

Police Officers will shortly be conducting assemblies with all main school year groups in an educational initiative that was organised well before the current issue took place.

We will continue our regular conversations with Northumbria Police and will seek legal advice about how best to respond to social media comments that are inaccurate and misleading.

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