Out of an “abundance of caution,” students in the Danville Area School District transitioned to remote learning on Friday after a threatening note was discovered in a bathroom stall inside the high school on Thursday afternoon. The note, in part, stated that someone was “going to shoot the school tomorrow.”
The decision was made to keep the students at home, despite a lack of specifics. It feels like a wise move but was undoubtedly a difficult decision.
Here is the bottom line: In this current climate, where shootings occur far too frequently at schools, an “abundance of caution” isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps had school officials, including the district’s safety resource officer, had more specifics on the threat late Thursday, students could have attended in person on Friday. But without knowing who or how even a smaller time frame, it made sense to be safe.
Over the weekend, school officials informed the community that the person responsible for the threat had been identified and that appropriate action was being taken. They also noted that parents and students should use the information provided to make decisions about a return to school on Monday.
The latest incident at Danville comes on the heels of a student bringing a firearm and ammunition to school on a bus at Midd-West — a similar incident occurred at Milton in May just days before the shooting at a Texas elementary school — last month. And earlier this school year, Danville officials found a spent bullet and damage inside an intermediate school classroom when students and teachers returned to class after a weekend.
Educators have known for a long time, and certainly had their understandings hammered home during COVID, that students learn best and grow best when they are in school on a regular basis. They want the students to be in school, as much for the personal interaction and normalcy, as for the learning.
Decisions like the one made late Thursday are not easy and involved a thousand moving parts.
In this case, with so much unknown about the threat, it was the best call with the information at hand. If more information were available, we trust school officials would have made the right decision based on credible information and given parents all the information they can to allow families to make individual decisions as well.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Editor William Bowman.