Editorial: Fake bomb threat frightens students

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Paige Glasgow

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Editorial Board

Set the scene of March 24, 2017 in the Altoona Area Junior High school’s gymnasiums. The large rooms are almost deadly silent with the only noises being the hushed and frankly terrified murmurs being passed from students to teachers and staff.

That day, students were swept in a hustle through a lock down that led into a fire drill. That then leading to all students and most of the staff fleeing to the gymnasiums at the head principal’s call. After about an hour and 15 minutes, most teachers and all students got released from the gyms.

Throughout this, not only were some adolescents on the verge of tears, but many feared what was going on and wondered if their possible deaths would arise… and for what?

Everything that happened that Friday was the result of a teenager playing, what could only be assumed, a prank; the overall consequences heavily impacting many. At approximately 10:45 a.m. that morning a threat was found written on a restroom wall inside the junior high school that necessitated a precautionary evacuation of the students. A complete sweep of the building was conducted by AASD Police Services along with the assistance of local law enforcement and the threat was determined to be  unfounded.  Students, staff and faculty returned to the building and school resumed normal operations.

There are multiple negative outcomes that could have occurred due to this incident. It not only caused the rest of the class periods after fourth period to be cut short- placing unnecessary strain on teachers, but it also put lunch ladies into the predicament of staying overtime to produce lunches later in the day.

Luckily, both lunch ladies and teachers were able to resume their duties and keep their calm throughout this incident which never should have happened.

“It affected ninth grade lunch, but I thought they [the staff and authorities] did a good job in getting the periods back on track,” ninth grade teacher Jill Rutter said. “I was able to just continue with curriculum in the afternoon and with electives.”

However, the incident could also affected parents and their views on the school and the students who attend it. This could cause  a decrease in parental volunteering and a lack of monetary support for the AAJHS and most of its extracurricular activities.

Parents and community members are more likely to fund a school district if said district has a positive reputation on the community and on the students within it. When incidents like these occur though, it is clear that parents will be less willing to give money to the school district because it has a bad reputation.

The students, similarly to their parents, would also not do as well on their school work or in their extracurriculars with incidents like these occurring because their overall attention would be more focused on worrying than on their school work. Many students do not understand why anyone would put the school in this situation.

Students with good heads on their shoulders stated stating the whole ordeal was stupid and unnecessary. 

The teachers knew what to do in a situation like this and did their best to keep the students calm and not worried. 

“I knew right away, I was trained in this. I didn’t think it was a credible threat,” eighth grade teacher Donald Church said.

It is always good to be aware of what can happen at school. So teachers must always be prepared.  Every student should know they are safe in school and the teachers and administration know what to do when there is a situation.  Students need to be aware of the consequences of their actions and the effect events have on everyone in the building and the community.