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SUSD online safety survey shut down after 'inappropriate and irrelevant posts'

Posted at 7:19 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-16 06:14:10-04

SCOTTSDALE — A Scottsdale Unified School District online safety survey was shut down by the district after a number of 'inappropriate and irrelevant posts' were submitted.

"Last night our administration opened up a ‘Thought Exchange' as a way to solicit feedback on school safety in our schools,” says Scottsdale Unified School District Board Member, Jann-Michael Greenburg. “What we were trying to do, was hear from our staff members and hear from our community about issues or concerns they might have and some ideas for improving safety for our staff and students on our campuses.”

Greenburg says that online survey took a turn.

"The board was then later notified a few hours later, that the ‘Thought Exchange’ had to be closed down.”

The Scottsdale Unified School District says some users posted a number of "inappropriate and irrelevant posts unrelated to advancing the safety and security of Scottsdale schools."

"About 400 people participated in the ‘Thought Exchange’,” says Greenburg. “About 100 staff members. We received some really great feedback as part of that process. Very helpful feedback. But unfortunately, there was a contingent of individuals who chose to use that forum as a way to make false and derogatory comments about other citizens and other staff members in our school district.”

ABC15 obtained some of those posts from a Scottsdale parent. One claims, "Joe Biden is a Chinese puppet." Another says, "Wait 'till these masked out drugged out kids get older."

"I did not see the exchange,” Greenburg says. “Personally, I believe they are authentic based on what I've seen, and it looks like the ‘Thought Exchange’ format.”

The Scottsdale Unified School District and School Board President wouldn’t do an interview with ABC15, but referred the station to this statement:

Dear SUSD,

Earlier today, we deployed a Thought Exchange to ask for your genuine input on how to enhance school safety. Many of you participated, providing meaningful and insightful thoughts. Unfortunately, some did not. Instead, individuals posted a number of inappropriate and irrelevant posts unrelated to advancing the safety and security of Scottsdale Schools. Thus, the District had no choice but to shut down the Exchange.

We cannot emphasize enough how disappointed we are about having to close down this avenue of discourse with you. We have spent the summer working closely with our partners in law enforcement to review our plans and protocols, knowing that preparation is the key to mitigating or preventing a crisis.

All staff and parents play a critical role in securing our schools, and we know that most of you take that responsibility very seriously.Y

our further input, questions, concerns or comments can be directed to the Safety and Security tab on Let's Talk.

Thank you,

Scottsdale Unified School District

"It is frustrating for me,” says Greenburg. “We do take feedback. We take feedback very seriously. We think it's an important part of our job as administrators and board members of a school district, especially on a topic of such great importance. We've seen what happened in Uvalde. We don't want students or staff to be in the face of danger.”

In addition to getting feedback from parents, Greenburg says Scottsdale Unified School District has hired social workers for each campus to focus on mental health so students and staff feel comfortable and safe at school.

He also says the district has spent millions of dollars to upgrade school buildings to be as safe as possible.