Police have deemed a threat made against Windber Area Middle/High School is not credible.
Windber police and school district officials were alerted by parents and students about the threat around 8 p.m. Thursday. The district decided to cancel classes on Friday as a precaution. Friday morning, the threat was deemed not credible.
“You know, with what has happened throughout the country, you can’t take that lightly,” said Superintendent Joseph Kimmel.
Police could not give details about the threat or who made it. They did say it was made on social media against the school, and not any particular student.
“We’ve heard there were pictures of bombs and it was also a shooting threat,” said Crystal Parks, a parent whose children attend Windber Elementary.
Instead of sitting in class, 6th grader Jayda Dabbs, 8th grader Jerziee Thurau and 11th grader Cherokee Dabbs sat around a playground, scared and shaken.
“My mom woke us up at like 12 in the morning, told us that we’re not going to school because there was a threat in the school, which that makes me afraid to go to school,” said Thurau.
“I never thought anything would happen like that,” Cherokee added.
Kimmel said the district will look at its security measures to see if there’s room to improve, in addition to recent upgrades including new security cameras adn therapists for students to speak with face-to-face or anonymously.
Friday, Kimmel released a statement thanking students and parents who alerted the school to the potential threat. He said they had been working with their School Resource Officer and law enforcement officials to settle this situation.
“After an extensive and thorough investigation, Windber Police has deemed this alleged threat not credible,” said Kimmel.
There will be a stronger police presence at Friday night’s varsity football game at Windber and in schools starting Monday. The increased police presence will remain in effect indefinitely. Classes will resume as normal on Monday, September 10.
Additional counseling services are available for students. Parents are encouraged to talk to their kids and use resources on the website in helping kids to understand, educate and cope with this most recent event.
Kimmel said students, staff and the community are shaken and frustrated.
“This altered our day. Students will have some anxiety. It’s real and that impedes learning,” Kimmel said.
“I don’t feel safe at all,” said Parks.
“I’m a little scared,” Cherokee said. “Because if they didn’t catch it and they didn’t turn it in, we could have gone in today and got shot.”
The investigation into the threat is ongoing.