The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

August 28, 2013

School threat tested safety procedures

The reality of school safety was tested in Washington on Monday as a bomb threat was found at Washington High School, causing the evacuation of students at both the junior and senior high schools.

Luckily, the threat was only a piece of paper and never reached the level of tragedy as we have seen in countless school shootings over the past couple years. A suspect was arrested Monday evening and charges are pending against the youngster.

Still, Monday’s episode put the schools’ emergency plan to the test, where students, teachers, administrators and police had to do their part to ensure every student was safe.

The plan worked. From numerous students and parents, school staff worked in a calm, orderly manner to get the students to the Washington National Guard Armory and North Elementary.

Alongside the school staff were city police and firefighters, along with National Guard soldiers who happened to be working in the armory. Because everyone knew what to do in this situation, students were taken safely to waiting parents.

We praise the school staff, faculty and administrators for their quick work in recognizing the threat and enacting the emergency plan. We also must recognize the good job the city police and firefighters did in supervising the evacuation and later the investigation into the threat.

Also, parents should also receive praise. Through accounts and reports, there was concern among parents, but no panic.

While there might be minor changes to the emergency plan, it did its job and while we hope we never have to use it again, we do know it can be done without mass hysteria.

Our appreciation goes to those who did their job well Monday.

The young person who wrote the threat will probably face several charges related to the incident, but let’s remember this person, whoever he or she may be, partly wrote this threat as not a declaration of violence, but rather a cry for help.

Also, let this person’s action serve as a reminder that if one sees or finds a person who is having trouble at school, or at home, to let an officer or educator know. It is this action that will help prevent another threat, or act of violence.

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