High School undergoes lockdown in response to threat

BPHS+went+on+lockdown+on+Thursday%2C+March+10+after+a+student+threat+posted+on+social+media+was+discovered.

wtae.com

BPHS went on lockdown on Thursday, March 10 after a student threat posted on social media was discovered.

Greydon Tomkowitz, Editor-In-Chief

BPHS entered lockdown at 1:38 PM on Thursday, March 10 in response to a threat found on social media.

Dr. J informed all students and staff via the PA system that a legitimate school-wide lockdown was in effect. Students and staff were instructed to stay inside their rooms, lock the doors, and wait for further information.

Following the release of this information, parents were instructed to wait to pick up students at the South Hills Assembly of God instead of at the school.

According to school officials, the threat was made early Thursday afternoon and the lockdown was initiated immediately following as per district policy.

This lockdown remained in effect until approximately 3:30 PM when busses left the high school parking lot to take students home.

Bethel Park School District released a statement describing the threat as “unsubstantiated.”

Bethel Park Superintendent Nancy Aloi Rose released a statement on Thursday on the school district website attempting to clarify the events of the lockdown.

Ms. Rose said: “The administration was notified this afternoon that a threat against Bethel Park High School was posted on social media. The principal immediately locked down the building and notified the BP Police Department who ably took command of the situation. Within a very short time, they identified and secured the student who wrote the post.”

It was during the above described period that students and staff were kept on lockdown.

Following the apprehension of the student who made the threat, Ms. Rose said, “Once the police gave the all clear, students were released in an orderly fashion from their classrooms and escorted from the building at approximately 3:30 p.m.”

During the lockdown, school district spokeswomen, Vicki Flotta, sent the following message to parents: “High school and Independence Middle School students will be checked before getting on their buses and will then be taken home.”

In the same message, Mrs. Flotta said: “We are taking this measure in an abundance of caution. At this time, we do not have any evidence that the threat is credible.”

Neither school officials nor police have commented on the specific details of the threat.

Police were called and began to search the school and surrounding areas.

Lori Houy, a reporter from WPXI who was one of the first to arrive at the scene, replied to a Hawk Eye inquiry asking how they heard about the incident and how they learned about the threat itself.

Her reply was as follows: “[WPXI] first learned about the threat and lockdown from concerned parents who contacted the station. Then [WPXI] saw the bulletin posted on the school website. A police officer at the church told [WPXI] it was a Facebook threat and that’s where [WPXI] saw a picture of it. School officials at the administration office told [WPXI] a parent first alerted security at the district today.”

In order to confirm the absence of any weapons, Ms. Rose said: “Following student dismissal, the police conducted a comprehensive search of the building to insure there were no further concerns. We are relieved to report that the threat was unsubstantiated.”

Ms. Rose’s final comment in her statement was: “Please reinforce with your children the seriousness of making threats, however harmlessly they are intended. In addition, encourage your children to report any rumors or postings immediately to the school administration or the police. I want to express my sincere appreciation to the high school principals, School Police Officer Jim Modrak, and the many police that supported our administration today. In addition, I want to acknowledge our staff and students who responded to the lock down in a safe and orderly fashion. I was very proud of their patience and diligence. Lastly, I thank the parents for their cooperation and calm endurance during what likely was a stressful time for them.”

School will resume Friday and continue as normal.