Bill Newby

Message from GLS District 36

Superintendent of Schools
Dr. William Newby

March 1, 2023

Dear Grass Lake District #36 Students, Parents, Staff, and Community,

Smart people learn from their mistakes. But real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.

-Brandon Mull

We live in a world where mass shootings seem to be a regular occurrence. We watch the news and are just stunned to hear about a kindergarten student who shoots his teacher. Students, parents, and staff wonder if they are safe at school. This is very serious business!  Why am I writing this message? Because for each of the past three years I have had to discipline students for making threats. So far this year I have had to discipline five students.  I am hoping by writing this message I can prevent another student from making the same mistake.

Threats in school today are like saying bomb in an airport when we were growing up. You just don't do it! Since 2021, school districts are required to have a threat assessment team to manage any significant threat to the school or its staff or students. This team meets when a threat has been made and go through a series of checks and balances to determine whether the student is a transitory threat or a substantive threat. This includes all grade levels from Pre-K to eighth grade.  When a student jokingly says “I'm going to kill you” or “I hate everybody here and I'm going to come to the school and shoot everybody up”, or “I'm going to kill your whole family”, or reply to a Snapchat asking which teacher you would kill if you had to choose, or using their fingers to pretend they are shooting someone or draws a picture of killing someone, the threat assessment team meets to determine if the threat is real. This is a clearly defined process that requires a significant amount of time and staff to complete.

Thankfully, in all the cases that have happened to date at GLS, none have been assessed to be a substantive threat. However, each of the students involved in these cases received significant disciplinary action. In addition, as part of the process the district must notify the Sheriff's Office of the threat. The Sheriff's Office then must determine whether they want to make contact with the family or not.

I am asking you to talk to your children. Please impress upon your children that any comment that threatens students, staff, or the school, are taken seriously and will result in significant disciplinary action and notification of the Lake County Sheriff's Office. Let them know that those types of comments or actions scare people and add to the fear already present in today’s school environment.

I know this is not a positive and upbeat message. However, I hope it avoids another child from being threatened or another student being disciplined for threatening someone. 

Thank you so much for talking to your children about this and making GLS as safe as possible.


William Newby Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Grass Lake District # 36