School Threats Back to Back, but What are Students Supposed to do?


Hailey Myers, Writer

Many became scared last Thursday as the rumor of a gun being on the OLHS campus spread around the school. School officials and students were quick to report this incident, but students were left to worry as they weren’t exactly sure what to take from the email they had gotten. The email sent out by the school didn’t convince all the students, saying, “We are conducting an investigation with the assistance of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office… we have determined there is no threat to students or staff at this time.” Many students left the school, making extremely long lines outside the attendance office. Bunches of students huddled up trying to leave. The tragic event of the Oxford County High School shooting came into many minds as they heard these rumors. 

There were many red flags leading up to the event at Oxford. The weekend prior to the tragedy, the 15-year-old suspect posted a picture of his new gun on his story with heart eyes. He was also caught searching up, “ammunition” by a teacher, but no consequence came from that. A drawing was reported later that day, picturing what could have been a shooting. Factors like these led people outside to wonder what happened that day, and why no one had done anything about it.

At Liberty, the students and staff practice drills for what to do if there was an active shooter in the school. Practices like barricading, exiting the school, and self-defense are taught, but students aren’t always told what to do if they suspect a threat coming toward the school.

Deputy Peterson, the school resource officer at Liberty, explained what one should do if they see something concerning or potentially harmful to others. His first step starts at home. Students are encouraged to speak with their parents, or any trusted adult around them.

“After speaking with your parents, and determining that police need to be aware, your next step is to call your local law enforcement. Save the post and share the post with the police officer or Deputy,” said Peterson.

Whether it’s a post on social media, hearing something from a peer, or hearing something from the person themselves, contacting local law enforcement is never going to be in the wrong. The officials then will determine the severity of the situation, and whether they need to interfere or not.

Given what they determine at the higher level they, “have several options while dealing with safety, mental health, or harassment,” said Peterson. “All posts are looked at individually and are determined by law enforcement, Juvenile prosecutors, or the school with the best way to handle the situation.”

If these types of issues are reported from the start, the individual could get the help they need or be taken into the hands of the local police, keeping harm away from everyone else.

“Depending on the post the suspect could be placed into jail, charged, or parents called to meet with us the next day with the student. The student could face Juvenile charges or could be suspended,” Peterson said.

At school, reporting suspicion to the first trusted adult is the best way to stop an incident before it spreads. 

“If a student made the initial report to me, I would immediately take them to one of our principals, and they along with our SRO Deputy Peterson would continue the process from there,” guidance counselor Mrs. Vallier said.

Safety will always be the number one priority, and early is always better than never. “Now sometimes these posts might turn into nothing but at least we would be able to determine that. Like always ‘See something, Say something!’ ” said Peterson.