Glen A. Wilson High School (GAWHS) went through two scares on Mar. 25 and Mar. 28 when students threatened to bomb and shoot up the school.
It was through social media that anonymous students expressed intentions to bomb GAWHS on Mar. 25. The school immediately went on lockdown, and students were forced to stay an extra hour in their first-period class while the police and GAWHS staff ascertained that there was no real threat to the school.
The incident on Mar. 28 occurred much the same. Another anonymous student threatened to shoot up the school online, and rumors spread rapidly before a GAWHS official was inevitably contacted.
In response, GAWHS’ principal, Dr. Danielle Kenfield, sent out intermittent messages to parents via email addressing the situation.
“Many thanks to our students who have informed us of the social media threats to the campus,” said Dr. Kenfield in one of the emails sent out to parents. “I remind you that passing along rumors through social media does not make them true. While we have not received a threat, we are taking these rumors seriously to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community.”
Kenfield also mentioned the threats in the daily announcements on Apr. 13, advising students not to follow by example by sending a threat of their own.
“Please do not try to investigate or try to find out if [the rumors are] true. Just report it… Whether it is a real threat or a joke, just with the fact that it was said, we have to take it seriously,” Dr. Kenfield said.
Isidro Peña (11) feels much the same. However, he wishes the school had taken more precautions to assure students’ safety.
“I think the school response [to the threats] was inadequate,” Peña said. “They called the cops to watch over the school, but the police did nothing. They stood at the gate and did not check anyone’s bag even though someone could have been carrying a weapon. The shelter in place was also horrible because teachers either did not listen and left their doors open or did not lock them. There definitely [could have been] a better approach to the whole thing.”
Peña also spoke on how he felt knowing that his safety was at risk at school.
“I was scared at first because I did not know what was going on. I hear about school shootings all the time, but you never think it [could happen in] your school,” Peña stated.
Fellow junior Kotone Okamura, on the other hand, did not find the situation all that intimidating.
“I thought [the lockdown] was a drill until my first period said it was legitimate,” Okamura said. “I was a little scared but more worried that we would be staying in our first-period class for the whole day. But we got out after the second period ended, so [the experience] was not as bad as expected.”
However, despite the fact that they were mostly unaffected by the bomb and school shooting threats, Okamura still hopes that students are not inspired to send even more.
“If the school finds out who is sending the threats, they definitely are going to punish them. I do not know who sent the threat [on Mar. 28] before spring break, but half the school was not here and that is not good. You should not send threats like that, even if it is a joke.”
The threats to the school were unwelcome by staff and students alike. Let us hope that no more arise.