In a letter sent to parents, Branford High School principal Lee Panagoulias addressed rumors that had been spreading that a former student had made threats against the school. His note: 

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We take the safety of our students and staff as our top priority. Given the recent tragic event in FL, it is important that I dispel a rumor circulating that threats were made against students. We have no facts supporting this assertion. At no time on Thursday were students or staff in danger and no threats were made yesterday or have been made against any individual or group of students for today. It is important we support our students, especially during times when they feel unsettled. Please know as a regular practice we review our emergency safety plan and procedures. As always your support is essential to ensuring the BHS community is safe learning community.

Sincerely,

Lee Panagoulias Principal Branford High

(19) comments

Guest

It was necessary for Mr. Panagoulias to address concerns that families have, although the letter arrived too late to dispel the rumors. However, I think it important to note that his letter did not address concerns that my student and I have. The rumors that are circulating deserve contemplation regardless of the fact that the Florida shooting happened. The fact remains that there was an incident at Branford High School yesterday. This incident, along with statements allegedly made off campus, circulated quickly and widely. This, in fact, caused concern and worry among Branford High School families. Mr. Panagoulias’ letter, while discriminatingly factually correct, fails to acknowledge that there may have been a threat made to another student without a timeframe. So while “no threats were made yesterday…or today”, was there a threat? So yes, the students feel unsettled, families feel unsettled. As far as supporting our students, the handling of this matter does not reassure me that the administration supports the students, while, in fact, I know from my student that the teachers do. The teachers have been having conversations with the students today – and I thank them. They are essential to our students’ well-being. As for the administration and the superintendent’s office, wouldn’t it be better to address concerns in an honest, communicative and transparent way? If they shared what happened and how it was handled in a timely fashion, there would be no rumors for we would have the truth.

Guest

I find it very concerning that the day after another school shooting our administration doesn’t find it necessary to notify the families that there was a breech in our school. It is a fact the young man was arrested and released. Our children are very anxious and we deserve the right to know what is going on without breaking an confidentiality of the young man. We as parents deserve the right and demand to be notified. We should be able to have a conversation with our children with as many facts as possible. Shame on our school system for taking that away from us. Enough is enough!

Joan

[cool]

Joan

I think responses to articles should be signed. Anonymous letters are discredited.

Guest

So, Joan who? Or are you like "Prince"? Is that how you sign your checks - "Joan"?

LynndaB

It was necessary for Mr. Panagoulias to address concerns that families have, although the letter arrived too late to dispel the rumors. However, I think it important to note that his letter did not address concerns that my student and I have. The rumors that are circulating deserve contemplation regardless of the fact that the Florida shooting happened. The fact remains that there was an incident at Branford High School yesterday. This incident, along with statements allegedly made off campus, circulated quickly and widely. This, in fact, caused concern and worry among Branford High School families. Mr. Panagoulias’ letter, while discriminatingly factually correct, fails to acknowledge that there may have been a threat made to another student without a timeframe. So while “no threats were made yesterday…or today”, was there a threat? So yes, the students feel unsettled, families feel unsettled. As far as supporting our students, the handling of this matter does not reassure me that the administration supports the students, while, in fact, I know from my student that the teachers do. The teachers have been having conversations with the students today – and I thank them. They are essential to our students’ well-being. As for the administration and the superintendent’s office, wouldn’t it be better to address concerns in an honest, communicative and transparent way? If they shared what happened and how it was handled in a timely fashion, there would be no rumors for we would have the truth.

LynndaB

Re-posted with my name -- for you Joan.

Pat Santoro

LynndaB and Joan,you are real transparent,how brave of you to use your first names.

Guest

How do you know it's their real name??? hmmmmm???

Sincerely, Derek Sanderson Jeter...

Guest

So nice to see a Patch article of the 102 safest school districts. Of course good ol Branford is dead last. Sittin proud at number 102, Hernandez and his letters are a joke. Time for a change.

Guest

And I'm sure if they had a poll for most dishonest, Branford would be right up there led by Krause and Hernandez

Guest

In our (limited personal) experience, Mr. Panagoulis has never been direct or straightforward about any situation which involved addressing an issue of concern, be it minor or major. Either he delegates it to another person (giving the appearance he himself is ducking the issue), or he uses obfuscation and double-talk. Don't our "educators" know how to craft simple declarative sentences any more??

Guest

^^^ Be careful what you say. Lee P is Hamlet's boy.

Guest

Which is our entire problem in the first place...

Guest

I last I heard from a BHS parent, Mr. Panagoulias sent out yet another email essentially saying that if anyone wants to help me run things, email my secretary and you can be on a committee to do so. Is this true? If so, that was not the best course of action.

Guest

Mr P is being paid to do a job.If he feels this job is beyond his level of expertise,a replacement might be a good idea.

Guest

The safety and health of all members of our learning community is our top priority. We know you place your trust in us each time you send your child to Branford High School. We constantly review our current methods of communication, safety drills, and security to establish best practice so we can effectively maintain the safety and security of each student who enters our doors.
When I began teaching 24 years ago in Branford Public Schools, our high school had an “open campus practice.” Students were allowed to leave campus during “opens” to get lunch in the center of town or enjoy a walk on a beautiful spring day. There were no video surveillance systems, security guards, or need to buzz visitors in at the front door. Due to the unfortunate repeated acts of violence occurring at schools across the country, and our commitment to provide a safe environment for all members of our learning community, our school practices and procedures have drastically changed.
Each horrific event causes all schools to reevaluate their procedures. At BHS, the word we emphasized this week with our students is WE. Together - students, parents, school, and community - must work together to make Branford High School a safe and healthy school environment where all of our students can learn, grow, and thrive. It is essential that we partner with you to support our students to make safe decisions! We all have a responsibility to report information which is potentially dangerous for students or someone else.
I encourage any parent who would like to be more directly involved in the discussion around school culture and guidelines to become a member of the Branford High School Community and Academic Standards Committee. For the last 15 years, this committee of teachers, students, and parents has met on the first Tuesday of each month to discuss Branford High School’s educational program, civic, social and academic expectations and initiatives. If you are interested please email my administrative assistant, Jean Brookman, at jbrookman@branfordschools.org.

Sincerely,

Lee Panagoulias, Jr.
Principal

gobballfan

I appreciate the principal's posting and invitation. But I have had 3 kids go through BHS over the past 10 years and can honestly say I have never heard of this committee.

Guest

I shared the above note from Lee Panagoulias, the 4th email BHS parents have received since the security lapse at BHS last Thursday. Through my children who attend the school, I know there was trespass, and there was a threat made, and even know the name of the kid that trespassed, and the name of the young lady who was threatened. Sounds like Panagoulias is doing what BPS administration and the BOE do best, which is to cover their rear ends and lie. And Ive never heard about the committee either.

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