PAHS increases security at Homecoming following threat rumor

The administration added more security during Homecoming following a social media rumor of a threat.

The administration’s top priority is keeping everyone in our buildings safe, but sometimes it isn’t as easy as it sounds. They have to make tough decisions from locking down the school to cancelling school events.

According to the Educator’s School Safety Network, there was a 62% increase in threats to American schools from the 2016-2017 school year to the 2017-2018 school year. This has not gone unnoticed by high school principal, Jeff Long.

“These things will and have come up in more recent times. Kids are becoming anxious about things and telling us because we say if you hear something, say something,” said Long. This can sometimes lead to false reports, but Long adds that he would rather have false reports than no reports. He believes it is easier to be safe than sorry.

According to Long, prior to Homecoming, there was a social media rumor that there was a threat to the dance, which led to worried parents and students. Long added, however, that there was no legitimate threat that was found during the investigation by the state police. There was also increased security at the dance in light of these rumors.

Long said that if the threat was legitimate then the dance may not have proceeded as planned. According to Long, if the person would not have already been taken into custody, it would have been a definite cancellation. However, he said that would be at the discretion of the superintendent, state police, and Long.

The school sent out text messages to inform students and parents what was happening. Long said he believes that it is always the best policy to be transparent with parents and students. Long said that when the school doesn’t keep the public informed, the scrutiny is worse because people believe that the school isn’t handling the issue.

The administration did not cancel Homecoming, but they had to ensure everyone’s safety before they could allow it to proceed as normal. In this situation, the investigation was over before the dance, and everything went according to plan.