Student suspended due to threats of violence; additional security added on campus

May 26, 2017 — by Sherrie Shen

In the last couple weeks of school, the administration has implemented heightened security around campus as a result of a student’s stated threat to cause violence.

The student was suspended on May 22 after other students overheard the accused student’s threat and reported what they heard to a teacher, who then notified the main office.

Principal Paul Robinson addressed the issue in an email sent to parents and students the same day. The exact nature of the threat was not specified.

Within minutes of being notified, the administration activated the district’s safety plan, which entailed immediately investigating the situation, collecting evidence and working with law enforcement. A sheriff’s deputy arrested the student and removed him from campus.

“I was surprised, but not shocked, when I heard because that’s the world we live in,” history teacher Matt Torrens said. “We talk a lot about it as teachers, about different scenarios through the years, but to realize that a student had taken steps in that direction was nerve-wracking.”

Since then, the school has added extra security as a short-term solution until the end of the school year.

Additional deputies from the sheriff’s department have also been stationed on campus and nearby, with an increased presence during tutorial, lunch, passing periods, before and after school.

Administrators and other school employees have been patrolling the perimeter of the school much more frequently, keeping an eye on all entrances. In addition, some teachers have been locking their doors as a security measure, and teachers have been asked to try to keep their students from wandering around campus during class periods.

Students had mixed reactions to the heightened security. Sophomore Alyssa Whitman is glad that the administration caught the student before the situation escalated further, but she feels that the added security is too much.

“It’s getting to the point where some people cannot even go to their car during class to drop things off like their jackets, and I think that’s a little bit too serious,” Whitman said.

To prevent further incidents from occurring again, Whitman believes the administration should promote mental-health programs like CASSY more so that students can discuss potential problems they have earlier.

Despite this threat and the various precautions taken around campus in response, Robinson is confident the school remains a very safe place.

“As this incident has shown, our students help keep us safe,” Robinson said. “By working with our staff, students did all the right things, and we’re safer today than we were before. It’s all of us working together that makes the difference.”

 

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