The Benton School District received a threatening email on Tuesday morning at about 10:30 AM. Administrators immediately contacted the Benton Police Department and placed all schools on lock-down. As a precautionary measure, all buildings were evacuated.
The Benton School District and the Benton Police Department are working jointly, but the issue has not been resolved. The email was specific to yesterday. The FBI has been contacted and the email is believed to have been from an encrypted email server. This investigation is a priority, but may take some time to unravel due to the complexity of the technology that was used.
As a precautionary measure, we have increased visual and physical police and school official presence on all campuses.
Most important is to note that we as a community should always be vigilant, talk to our children, convey information to those at the schools and in our community that can solve these types of issues to make our schools and community a safer place. The Benton Police Department and the Benton School District are committed to the safety of all students and staff. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact an employee of the Benton School District or the Benton Police Department at 501-778-1171 or 501-315-TIPS. Individuals also may send us an anonymous crime tip about this incident to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text or go to www.crimereports.com to leave a tip. A crime tip can also be submitted via the official Benton Police Department app found on iTunes and Google Play.
Benton School District and Benton Police Department
The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library hosted "Captive Voices: Japanese American Students in WWII Arkansas" on Wednesday, December 7th, following the Pearl Harbor Commemoration moment-of-silence at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.
Over 100 7th graders from Benton Middle School gathered to research the Butler Center’s Vogel-Gould Collection of artwork, letters, photographs, and other primary documents from Japanese American families sent to the Rohwer Confinement Camp in Arkansas after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Benton students were researching autobiographies written by Japanese American students for an English Class assignment soon after their arrival at Rohwer. The Benton students’ teacher, Megan McGuire (Art), has given her own students the task of “becoming the best friend” of the Rohwer student who wrote the autobiography.
At the Butler Center, the Benton students shared what they have learned about the impact that Pearl Harbor, forced relocation, and internment had on the lives of these Japanese American citizens and their families.
Students used their smartphones to record passages from the autobiographies that they considered “especially important for other students to hear and know.” The Butler Center posted their recordings—with the Benton teachers and students named in Author Credits—on the website it hosts for Arkansas teachers, the Arkansas History Hub www.arhistoryhub.com.
The Benton students also met with Ali Welky, editor of the 2015 Butler Center Book A Captive Audience: Voices of Japanese American Youth in World War II Arkansas, and Kim Sanders, curator of the upcoming 2017-18 exhibits of Rohwer Confinement Camp art and artifacts from the Vogel-Gould Collection, which is funded in part by funding from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
McGuire recently was chosen to participate in Year Two of a national public-private curriculum initiative. The program, Arkansas Declaration of Learning, is being piloted in Arkansas by the Butler Center in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the U.S. Department of State. McGuire is one of 28 teachers around the state creating innovative lesson plans using historic objects and art to teach students the importance of civic engagement in the life and history of their community, Arkansas and the nation.
For more information about this student project and related lesson plans or about the Arkansas Declaration of Learning, contact: George West, K-12 Education Outreach Coordinator, Butler Center: firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about school tours of the upcoming exhibits, contact Kim Sanders, Confinement Sites Interpreter, Butler Center: email@example.com .
On November 7, 2016, 23 students auditioned for All-Region Jazz band and 22 of the students received honors. Congratulations to these students and Band Director James Pianalto!
Of the 105 students that Benton Middle School and Benton Junior High took to competition, 94 made all-region choir. Benton had the highest actual number of students in the district to make all-region from any school. The percentage of students who made all-region choir from Benton Middle School and Benton Junior High was 92%. Congratulations to these students and to Choir Directors Garry Kirk and Merideth McCoy!