On Thursday, January 25 around 8:00 p.m., Paoli Community School Corporation sent out a call that alerted parents and students of a 2 hour delay the next day due to a threat that was put on the school for Friday. Later, PCSC sent out another call alerting all parents and students of a cancellation for Friday. This chain of events left many Paoli citizens and students in confusion and dismay.
All Paoli knew was that there was a threat on the safety of the school, and school had been cancelled. Many questions were answered in an Indiana State Police report that was released in the days following the threat.
On the Indiana State Police website, the report reads, in part, “On Thursday, January 25, 2018 around 5 p.m., law enforcement was made aware of a post on a social media account that threatened to do harm to local schools….Later in the evening, a second post, appearing to be from the same site, was posted. The Paoli School Corporation was informed of the findings and later decided, for the safety of all involved, to cancel school…. The result of thorough investigative efforts, detectives developed probable cause to arrest three juveniles ages 16, 17 and 17 for their alleged roles in posting the threats. All three were taken into custody earlier this afternoon (January 29) in Paoli and were transported to a juvenile detention center.”
PHS administrators were made aware of the threat around 5 p.m. and immediately began investigating and taking the correct steps to ensure the safety of the students.
“We did everything according to what our guidance was from the police force. They were very involved on the onset and were critical in dealing with the different information that was coming. I feel like we made very solid decisions based on the information we had,” said Principal Chad Johnson.
The threat leaves us with many questions regarding the precedent this sets on future threats to the school and how we will handle each of them.
“We do have a procedure in mind that we all felt comfortable with. The last thing we want to do is if something happens like this is automatically dismiss school because it could potentially happen again. We do have plans set in place that we are willing to implement. The safety of our students is foremost,” said Johnson.
As far as the specific plans, they are much like the procedure the administration followed in the recent threat.
“Ideally, it was what we had done anyway, with the call out. Start with a two hour delay and a police presence, no bags, that type of situation, which is mirrored to a local school who went through somewhat similar events. They had some lead time to gather their information, so in talking with them, we gathered information and decided to make a plan for ourselves based on what they did,” said Johnson.
Rest assured that if a situation like the recent one presents itself again, the administration and law enforcement will be on top of it, just like the last time.
Story by Garrett Vincent