Local schools face active shooter hoax


Schools, both local and around the country, are facing an increasing number of threats and violent events. On March 29, Hopewell School district, as well as several others across Pennsylvania, received threats of an active shooter. These threats quickly flooded social media and caused widespread panic all through the county and state. False information about the threats also quickly spread. Several students posted a faux number of victims that had supposedly been injured or killed. These rumors caused nothing but more confusion, panic and concern. Rumors of an active shooting in a nearby district quickly reached Freedom’s administration.

 “When information is received that a local district has received a threat, or is in danger, the Freedom School District Administration and New Sewickley Township Police Department will work together to confirm information and evaluate the situation. We will use this information to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of students and employees. This may include going into restrictive movement or shelter/evacuation and an increased police presence on campus,” School Resource Officer Greg Pullen said.

Making the decision to go into restricted movement in exactly what the Freedom administration did. Restricted movement means that teachers must keep all students in the classroom at all times. No trips to the water fountain or bathroom are permitted. However, teaching inside those classrooms is to continue as normal.

It wasn’t until midway through 3rd Block that administration came over the intercom to officially announce that the rumors of an active intruder in Hopewell school were false. This announcement also ended the restrictive movement. There was also, however, an increased police presence at the school. Though greatly relieved, students and teachers were still tense and on edge for the rest of the day. Any event of this nature, whether real or a hoax, causes many to wonder what they would do in the event of an active intruder. The second any threat is received, the administration would contact local police.

We are fortunate to have School Resource Officers at the High School and Middle School/Elementary School who will immediately engage any threat to students and staff. Any time information is received indicating a threat, the safety of students and staff will be our priority. A police investigation will be conducted to determine if the threat is real and the information will be shared with the school district administration,” Pullen said.

If a student notices something suspicious or something that doesn’t seem right, the best thing to do is to stay calm and inform a teacher, principal or SRO immediately. In the event of an active intruder the best way to stay safe is to get into a classroom where the doors can be barricaded and locked. If for any reason this is not possible, be aware of your surroundings and use the information you have to make the best decisions that you can whether it be to evacuate or barricade your position.