Our high school is renowned for the safe and inviting environment it provides students, but last week was an exception. On Tuesday, October 14th, it was reported that a bomb threat set for that Friday at 1:00 pm was written in a stall of the boys bathroom. There was no official announcement of this, nor another threat prior to this one, made in school; however, multiple emails were sent to parents informing them of the potential danger. Students were filled that Thursday with either fright or excitement concerning the possibility of a “cut-day” the following day. Teachers were encouraged to discuss the matter with students, without causing hysteria.
That Thursday an unfamiliar sight had welcomed students to school; everyone’s bags were checked for hazardous materials or weapons to ensure total safety. For some students, this confirmed the severity of the situation. In order to avoid any harm, hundreds of students skipped school on Friday, the supposed bombing day. Senior Miriam Zornberg validated her reasoning behind not going to school by saying, “To jeopardize another student’s education because you feel the need to act out is selfish. The school has to go through so much trouble when these things happen. The [police] dogs and bag checks were incredibly invasive and should not have been necessary. Bomb threats are never funny. It is wrong to put people through that, no matter what you yourself are going through.” There was a team of dogs trained to locate explosives, and a sweep of the building was done. All bags were searched upon arrival, and there was also an evacuation drill from 12:50 pm to 1:05 pm, minimizing the chance for any harm to those who attended school on Friday.
Many students and teachers were pleased with the precautions the school took concerning the threat. Their mentality was “better safe than sorry.” Sophomore Shira Zornberg states, “I went to school because the police scouted the entire school, found nothing, and searched everyone before they were allowed into the school so I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t going to let a threat that the school had proved could not become a reality get in the way of my education.”
Senior Sabrina Kim echoed similar thoughts, “I went to school Friday. I did not think that it would actually happen, and felt that if the administration had thought that it would, school would have been closed; however, of course I think a bomb threat should be taken seriously and I thought the necessary measures were taken.”
Teachers were also affected by the threat, including AP Psychology teacher Mrs. Pastoressa. She said, “The bomb threat was very unfortunate. My guess would be that it was done by a young kid who did not realize the effects and severity of writing a stupid statement. It is a felony. It costs a lot of money for taxpayers to ensure security to make sure we’re safe. It may have been a good kid with a lapse in judgement.”
The students and faculty remained safe despite the scare the bomb threat caused. Some parents criticized the school’s refusal to call off school that day and referred to that day as a waste, but others felt that taking such actions and cancelling school would encourage future threats. Ultimately, members of the Hills West community agreed that safety is the number one priority in every circumstance.