December 7, 2022

Just My Opinion - Mary Kilen

When You Think It Can’t Happen Here
Last week I watched the news with a sense of horror. Stories were breaking about a threat at the North Shore/Plaza school, including not only a “hit list” but also a picture a student posted days later warning students not to come to school.
There is not a lot of information available. Unfortunately, I understand that to some extent. I’ve sat at school board meetings where the board has had to have the discussions about student privacy and state laws when it comes to issues. There is also the issue of dealing with minors. None of that makes it easier, especially for these parents at this time.
When all you want is answers and have an honest need or desire for additional information, not getting those answers can be frustrating.
On their Facebook page, the school had posted the following: “On Monday, November 21, a threatening document was discovered on a school computer. The students who created the document were immediately removed from school and law enforcement was contacted. After law enforcement’s investigation, they concluded a threat to student safety did not exist. The students involved in this incident will remain out of school until the school completes its own investigation.
On the evening of November 27, NSP administration became aware of a separate incident involving a threatening photo shared via social media. Police and the students’ parents were contacted immediately.  Ward and Mountrail County Deputies were dispatched, and students involved with the social media post were directed to stay home while this incident was investigated. After conversations with law enforcement, and the individuals involved, we felt it was safe to resume school as normal today (11/28). Be assured, we would not have had school if we, or law enforcement, believed there was a threat to student safety. We requested police presence at 8 AM today (11/28) for support and peace of mind. Again, the students involved will not be in school pending further investigation.”
As the story was breaking, the Ward County Sheriff’s Department released the following statement: “On November 27, 2022, the Ward County Sheriff’s Department received a report from the North Shore Plaza School of a photograph of a student that depicted the student holding a handgun and with the caption stating don’t come to school tomorrow.  The Ward County Sheriff’s Department investigated the incident due to the student living in Ward County. No immediate threat to public safety was identified.
Further investigation revealed that the handgun in the photograph was that of a BB gun and has been seized by law enforcement. One juvenile was referred to Juvenile Court for terrorizing.”
The toughest part of all of this is the current national crisis that has our parents and children fearing for safety in schools. No child or parent should have to face that worry. To have a sense of a lack of information when faced with the situation is even worse. The school district board is working on their policy and they are holding meetings today to discuss some of those concerns.
Stanley Schools are currently working with the Stanley Police Department on hiring a School Resource Officer. The discussion has been underway for months, long before this most recent incident.
While no one wants to think about the need for an SRO, they are prevalent in schools not only around the nation, but also even in our little corner of the world. An SRO provides many services to a school. I’m glad that the school and city are working together to provide this for our kids in our schools. You pray they will never be needed for any major crisis or incident, but you are also glad they will be there to help with the little things and, God forbid, the big things as well.
A Little Bit Of History
On Monday, the Lions Holiday Tournament tips off in the Stanley High School gym. As I was working on Monday morning, Bill Whitmore brought me a couple of pieces of history to look at regarding this tournament.
He had the actual tournament booklets from both the second and third annual Round Robin Basketball Tournament held in Stanley in December of 1947 and 1948. It is amazing to think that a tournament that started back then is still running today. The teams are different and the timing is as well.
Now the tournament runs over four days. Those first tournaments were held on two days with four different teams. In 1947 that was Stanley, Elbowoods, Kenmare and Watford City. Over the two days and six games, each team would play the others. In 1948 the tournament was held on the same dates, December 29 and 30, this time with Glenburn replacing Elbowoods.
Today’s tournament runs in a bracket format with eight teams taking part. Those teams have also changed over the years and the tournament has moved to earlier in December to accommodate school and family schedules.
The tournament still brings lots of fans to Stanley and the gym will be packed come championship night. I hope you all get a chance to check out some of the action. A tournament bracket appears elsewhere in this week’s paper.