Pennbrook Update 4/20

Pennbrook Update 4/20
Posted on 04/20/2024

April 20, 2024

Dear North Penn Community,

First, I want to acknowledge the hurt, trauma, concern, and angst that has resulted from the incident that occurred this week at Pennbrook Middle School. As I stated in my communication on Wednesday, I am also appalled by what happened that day. At last Thursday’s School Board meeting, many community members expressed their disappointment and anger regarding the incident and demanded answers and action steps to ensure that this type of event does not happen again in our schools. Of course, this will take time, and the work necessary for comprehensive school safety is never finished.

Thursday evening and in previous communications, I stated that there are many details to this incident that I am unable to share and this can be frustrating to both you and me. However, students and families have a right to due process and confidentiality. What I can tell you is that we will be tireless in our demonstration to you that we, too, share your concern and are committed to substantial improvement today and in the long-term future. Details for each of the items listed below will become clear in the very near future, but here are a few of the commitments that I am making to you based upon the feedback that we have heard from parents, students, and staff over the last few days:

  1. We will contract with a third-party, unbiased investigator to examine the totality of this incident and to offer an analysis and recommendations.

  2. We are working to establish a date for a school safety forum, including a comprehensive look at the programs and measures that we currently have in place and to field questions and answers from the community and local experts. This date will be communicated next week.

  3. We will develop student school safety committees at each building. These committees will meet monthly with building leaders to share concerns, questions, and recommendations to improve school safety and climate. The student’s voice is essential in a comprehensive plan.

  4. We have already scheduled a consultation with Dr. Beth Sanborn, the School Safety Coordinator for the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, to provide consultative services on our current school safety measures.

  5. We will provide professional development for all administrators regarding consistent and industry-leading investigative procedures. This training will be conducted by a nationally certified trainer and a former secret service investigator.

  6. We have contacted all of our local police departments and requested more regular visits to our buildings. As always, they were eager to support this request.

  7. All schools will provide refresher training on Safe2Say, the anonymous tip line that sends all tips directly to the attorney general’s office, administration, security, and me.

  8. We are partnering with the Center for Effective Schools for trauma-informed professional development for staff and community members.

  9. Listening sessions regarding school safety will be conducted throughout the district over the next month to hear from staff and students. A summary of these sessions will be shared with the community at a public Safe Schools Committee meeting.

  10. A solution-oriented group of parents, students, and local leaders will be brought together to further identify areas for improvement. Again, details will be shared very soon including how you can become involved.

Mr. Brandon Rhone, the NPSD coordinator of emergency management and safe schools, and I will provide updates to the items on this list monthly at our public Safe Schools Committee meetings. The next meeting will be on Monday, April 29, at 5:45 p.m. 

This week has been difficult for all of us, and I am hopeful that we can come together for the betterment of our students, staff and community as a whole. At Thursday’s meeting, resources were requested so that parents could speak with students following a traumatic event. This document, which was provided to Pennbrook families yesterday, was compiled by the NPSD guidance department and is an excellent resource. 

I want to wish all NPSD families a nice weekend.


Todd M. Bauer