Superior High School Shooting Threat: What Happened / What is Happening
“This morning, we were made aware of an anonymous threat of violence against Superior High School” the School District of Superior posted to Facebook on February 22. That morning they checked almost every high schoolers backpack as they entered their school while the Superior Police Department determined the threat to have been made from a computer in Arizona. They believe now the threat was not intended for SHS. They informed the school district in Arizona with a similar name of the threat. Though tensions may have been high, school went on.
This came days after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida left 17 dead. In the days after this tragedy, threats have increased and schools have been taking each one extremely seriously.
According to Educator’s School Safety Network, there have been nearly 800 “school-based incidents and threats since February 15, 2018”. They also stated that this has increased seven fold since the Florida shooting. It is important to note that the threat of violence has increased, but not so much the act. Since Florida, there has been one school shooting. At Central Michigan University a student shot and killed his parents who were picking him up in his dorm. There have been other people shot on college campuses but they either weren’t students or the gun shots were accidents.
The day after the unsubstantiated threat against SHS was made, the district published a letter discussing all the ways they work to combat the risk of violence at their schools. Three full-time police liaison officers visit the campuses. Doors are locked after students enter in the morning. They also have posters up and are encouraging students to say something if they see something.
“If they notice something seems off, or hear something one of their classmates say, we want them to come forward,” said Kelly Pugh, the administrative assistant to the superintendent.
For a long time schools did shelter-in-place drills but now the Superior School District is preparing students with the ALICE drills (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) that help them adapt to different situations.
“Sometimes the best response is to lock down your classroom and hide but sometimes the best response is to get out as quickly as you can,” she said, adding they do this training alongside the SPD for their staff and substitute teachers as well as students.
Duluth’s Denfeld High School had an incident last week in which students heard rumors of a potential shooting. Denfeld chose not to close down the school but did check every students backpacks as they entered. Many of the students chose not to attend school that day. The Duluth Police Department later found the person who had allegedly made these threats and found they had not intended to carry them out.
“Given the disruptive nature of the statement and the concern it caused our school and community, the student will face disciplinary consequences and criminal charges,” the DPD posted to their facebook page.
Pugh said they work very closely with the police about what the response should be to a threat.
“We try to do everything we can to keep our kids safe—whatever it takes,” said Pugh.