Like other school districts in the Yakima Valley the Sunnyside School District is dealing with student threats against schools and students. District officials released a statement to help parents and others understand how the district is responding.

The release sent to parents and the community Thursday.

"Following the recent series of school threats that have been made in the Sunnyside School District and across the region, there are understandably heightened amounts of emotion, stress and anger. School should be a place of learning, free of violence.

The Sunnyside School District wants to assure our community that we take every threat of school violence, whether written, through social media, or overheard, seriously. Each threat is investigated by school administrators and the Sunnyside Police Department. Perpetrators of such threats can face serious consequences including suspension, expulsion, and legal repercussions as well.

Keeping Sunnyside schools and students safe is an effort that our entire community can be involved in. Here are some ideas:

* Know what websites and social media sites your child is using. Look at what they are posting and who they are following.
* Emphasize that making a threat is not to be taken lightly and that there are severe consequences.
* Watch for changes in behavior and seek help if you see any child who needs assistance dealing with anxiety or feeling safe.
* Contact school administrators and law enforcement if you believe a child is capable of making a threat and following through.
* Parents, keep an open line of communication with your children and encourage them to tell you or another trusted adult if they become aware of a threat or rumor of violence.

Working together at school and at home, we can and will make a difference for our children and our community. Parents entrust their children to us on a daily basis, and as school employees, our greatest responsibility is to educate students in a safe environment.

Thank you for your assistance in keeping our children and community safe."

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