Penn Manor administration reacts to local school threats

By Brooke Swinehart

School districts around Lancaster County have been receiving bomb threats. According to Lancaster Newspapers, students at Cocalico, Donegal, and Ephrata high schools were arrested due to the bomb threats. Incidents are still being investigated at Conestoga Valley High School, Lampeter Strasburg High School, and Smoketown Elementary in the Conestoga Valley School District.

On September 24, a male, 15, was charged with 20 counts of terroristic threats, causing false alarm, and three counts of making threats to use weapons of mass destruction. The charges including a total of 20 threats between September 10 and 16 with 13 schools involved. On September 30, a female student was arrested for making threats to Manheim Township High School by writing threats on the bathrooms stalls, which caused the school to be evacuated twice within a week.

“A shame it happens, and is such a waste of resources and energy,” said Dr. Phillip Gale.

Although there have been threats at a number of neighboring school districts, Penn Manor has been unaffected and administrators don’t expect an issue.

“I would like to think I know my students, so no.” said Officer Jason Hottenstein, school resource officer. “The reality is there is always a possibility, but as an administration we make sure we’re prepared, and have our policies in place, if it were to occur.”

“Its very concerning that that kind of behavior (is happening).” said Mr. Hottenstein.

But if a threat were to be made, the administration is prepared to keep Penn Manor faculty and students safe.

“We would follow the policy whatever the situation dictates. That could include evacuation, bomb sniffing dogs, and letters home.” Mr. Hottenstein said.

Mr. Hottenstein said the consequences for a student who made a threat would be a “criminal catastrophe.”
“That’s 1,800 kids at risk from one threat that may not be true. Then there’s also the school side of it which would be the student being expelled.”