District Addresses Alleged Criminal Activity

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District Addresses Alleged Criminal Activity

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On Sunday, Dec. 9, a post surfaced on the social media platform, Nextdoor, describing suspected criminal activity allegedly involving Westside students. The post described an alleged armed robbery of a Westside student. The post also mentioned possible gang or clique connections. On Monday, Dec. 10, Westside Community Schools sent an email to district parents addressing the post. It included information that the event the post was about did not occur on school property or during school hours.

“We were made aware of a post on Nextdoor from a parent and that there was a lot of commenting and sharing of that post that happened afterwards,” said director of communications and engagement, Brandi Paul. “Even though this did not happen at one of our schools … we wanted to make sure we kept our families updated … and ease some of their fears that there wasn’t [a] threat at our schools, that this didn’t happen at our school, but we’re working with police to help as best we can.”

According to Paul, the event is under investigation by the Omaha Police Department. Paul said that because the situation occurred off district property and out of district hours, the school can’t do much but assist the police in their investigation. Paul also said that while the code of conduct lists policies and consequences for different situations, the fact that this event occurred outside of school makes it difficult for administration to handle.

“It’s really tricky for us because, obviously, our mission and our goal is to give everyone the best education we possibly can, however, we want to make sure that every single person and staff member inside of our schools are safe,” Paul said.

Currently, district administration and the Omaha Police Department are looking for the students featured in the Nextdoor post who are suspected of criminal activity. According to both Paul and Principal Jay Opperman, the goal of the school is to make sure the students are safe and the district is doing this by assisting Omaha Police.

“Just because something happens off school grounds doesn’t mean that it automatically has nothing to do with us,” Opperman said. “I think the measure whereas for us is if [the event is] creating an unsafe situation for other students at school.”

Paul said one of her concerns having to do with the post was rumors being spread and spun out of control by social media. Details on what exactly happened are not yet available.  

Paul also said that the school has the responsibility to make sure families are in the loop and that their kids are safe when they come to school, especially with the mention of alleged gang involvement in the post.

“Any accusation or any words of that nature we take extremely seriously,” Paul said. “We want our schools to not only be a fun place that you guys look forward to coming to everyday, but first and foremost that when you come to school you are safe. If there are even rumors about something like that taking place or even swirling around we investigate it thoroughly.”


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