District Response to ‘Rumors’

Rumors in and around schools are nothing new and have been a part of our society and schools for decades.  In fact, building principals and staff are faced with rumors on a regular basis.  The spread of rumors in today’s social media age is becoming an increasing challenge for schools as we must always keep the safety of our students at the forefront while respecting the rights of all involved.
It is important to understand that a rumor is a statement or story that has yet to be verified as truth or fact.  Unfortunately, the continued circulation of unsubstantiated rumors in and of themselves can be quite harmful to all parties.
Recently, various rumors have been circulating in and around Mount Vernon High School.  An initial rumor morphed into several other rumors involving a variety of different parties.  While we take all rumors seriously, when we hear rumors that involve the safety and welfare of students, it becomes our number one priority.
We have worked closely with local law enforcement, Knox County Children’s Services, as well as conducting our own internal investigations to assess and address the many rumors that have been circulating.  Until such time that we determine a rumor to be factual, we must be careful to not address these matters publicly as we would find ourselves complicit of the very thing we are trying to discourage…The Rumor Mill.
If through the investigative process we determine a rumor to be true and it necessitates disciplinary action, we will address it accordingly being sensitive to privacy rights of students and the rights of the individuals for due process.
Respectfully submitted,
William Seder Jr.
Superintendent, Mount Vernon City Schools