Dear Delavan-Darien School District parents and students,
Thank you for your patience and cooperation with us today as we had a very rare, but very scary situation that affected all of our schools this morning. Rest assured that all students were safe in our schools today and we will work to ensure that they always are.
Yesterday afternoon, police in East Troy received word that someone threatened to “shoot up the school” on a social messaging phone application called Yik Yak. The Yik Yak application sends text messages out to other people using the same application who are in the vicinity of where the message originated.
When the investigation revealed that the message originated near East Troy, East Troy Schools gave their students the option of staying home from school today.
We here at Delavan-Darien schools did not learn of this threat until just before the start of the school day. We took precautions by having extra police presence in our buildings at the start of school.
Shortly after the start of school, police informed us that the person who allegedly originated the message may be in Delavan-Darien High School. We then immediately initiated a lockdown for all of our school buildings. The suspected student was taken into police custody. After the questioning of this student and several others, it was determined by police and school officials that the school days could resume as normal. The lockdown was lifted for all schools by 9 a.m.
East Troy and Delavan police continue to investigate the situation and this is considered a police matter.
We encourage you to talk with your students about appropriate behavior while using technology. We also encourage you to have them delete the Yik Yak application from their phones and prevent them from downloading it. The district has taken steps to prevent the use of the application on school grounds.
See below for further information about the Yik Yak application, and again, thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.
WHAT IS YIK YAK?
Yik Yak is a mobile social media application that allows for users to make anonymous posts online and within the app. When registering for an account, users only need to provide a cell phone number. Yik Yak allows for 200-character texts to be sent and seen by other app users within the vicinity. The app uses GPS and cell phone towers to determine the texter’s location. The app, according to the maker’s website, is intended for use by those 17 or older.
From Delavan-Darien School District internet networks, users cannot access or download the “Yik Yak” app. However, because this is a cellular application, students may be able to access and use the app using cellular internet connections, which we cannot control.
Cooperation and Vigilance
This situation shows the importance of constant vigilance by all involved to use technology appropriately. Cooperation between districts, schools, communities, families and students will help to ensure that unfortunate situations like these are kept to a minimum. We encourage parents to talk with students about appropriate use of technology. This includes making threats, cyberbullying, “sexting” and other behavior that may not be appropriate for students.
The Burlington School District recently had a letter home to parents about this very type of issue, which read:
A significant way that we can deal with this Yik Yak app and others is to promote digital citizenship at home and at school. This is a learning opportunity for students on how their behavior and choices they make can have an impact others and their own future in a digital world. We ask that you have a meaningful conversation with your son/daughter. We also recommend deleting the Yik Yak app and reviewing the apps on your child’s phone. Together, we can continue to make our school district a safe place for all students to live and learn.
App has caused problems elsewhere:
Today’s incident is not the first of its kind as it relates to the Yik Yak app. Here are some articles about the app.
The Delavan-Darien School District has embedded internet safety in its curriculum for all students, K-12. We teach it regularly. For more information about internet safety, please visit these sites: