Cardinal Newman parents still concerned about safety despite principal’s apology

Cardinal Newman Principal apologizes to parents for not telling them about threats

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The principal at Cardinal Newman responded to criticism by some parents over the handling of threatening videos made by a former student.

Robert Loia, apologized last night to parents in a letter for taking so long to tell them about the videos, saying that he sees the harm it has caused the school community and wants to rebuild trust.

Loia also said he plans to unveil the preliminary plan for increased safety and diversity training for the school at a Town Hall meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m.

A student was arrested July 17th after investigators say he threatened to “shoot up” the school in a video. The teen is no longer a student at the school, but parents were upset they weren’t told earlier.

Yesterday, parents voiced their feelings at a meeting. Many left saying they still had unanswered questions.

Loia said in a letter over the weekend that they didn’t inform parents until over two weeks after learning of this incident because the threat had been neutralized. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department said all of the guns were removed from the student’s home at the time of the arrest.

However, in a letter last night Loia said the decision to not inform parents of the situation earlier in July was a mistake. He said that parents should have been notified immediately, apologizing for the anxiety and confusion that the situation created for the school’s community.

“I wonder how many were aware of it? How many condone it? How many others are there just like him? That’s a concern for me, at the school, is my daughter safe?” Lasenta Ellis-Lewis, a parent, said. “I want to make sure I am a part of whatever planning process that takes place to make sure my daughter is safe when she goes to school at Cardinal Newman.”

Ellis- Lewis said she’s decided to keep her daughter at Cardinal Newman and she wants to help the school make improvements to security.

“We do think that we can be a part of a solution,” Ellis-Lewis said. “That we can meet with the school administrators and help come up with a plan of action to make sure that the school has a system in place to follow-up at little quick and follow-up when a threat occurs with our students.”

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