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News from Keri Gelenian, Head of Schools/RA Principal

November 19th, 2014

Dear Rivendell Families,

On Tuesday some students began using an app called After School. The app allows a student to send an anonymous message to other Rivendell students who have also downloaded the app.

A small number of students have used the site for bullying and sexual harassment of other students. Because the posts are anonymous we are currently unable to identify who has sent a message. I am concerned about the emotional impact these hurtful messages have had on targeted students. We will be checking in with targeted students as we move ahead in dealing with this issue.

Since Wednesday morning I have discussed this issue with all high school students. All high school students have agreed to remove the app from their personal device. I realize that some students will not remove the app, but I am hopeful that most will do so. I am meeting with the 7th and 8th grade on Friday.

In addition we will be having follow-up discussions with all students in advisory and in an assembly. We are also investigating ways to gain access to the identities of students who have sent inappropriate messages. Bullying and sexual harassment are against the law. Those students who might be identified will be dealt with accordingly.

I encourage you to have a discussion with your Rivendell student about the legal and personal issues related to using technology to harm others. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other online tools can be fun and helpful or hurtful and harmful. The choices people make define how others see them now and in the future.

It is important to remember that nearly all our students used this app appropriately. The majority of students in the school did not even know that it existed. As is usually the case, we are all paying the price for a few but significant instances of negative behavior. We are using this incident to once again have open and honest conversations with students about how to treat one another and use technology appropriately.

Sincerely,

Keri Gelenian
Principal, Rivendell Academy

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