Pine-Richland superintendent says communication is key when dealing with threats - PineCreek Journal

Pine-Richland superintendent says communication is key when dealing with threats

Thursday, September 19, 2019 | 12:21 PM

Pine-Richland School District superintendent Dr. Brian Miller thanked the students, parents and community at large for their response to incidents the week of Sept. 9.

On Monday, Sept. 9, there was a bomb threat written on a bathroom wall at the middle school. Police searched the school and found nothing. Students’ bags were searched and there were restrictions in the hallways and bathrooms on Tuesday after the school identified a student responsible for writing the threat that read, “I make school go boom.”

On Wednesday both the high school and middle school were closed as Northern Regional Police and FBI investigated a cyber threat that specifically mentioned the two schools.

“When it comes to threats, (there are) difficult moments for school districts everywhere to assess, to work with the team to make decisions, and over the last week we have done that,” Miller said.

Miller went on to say that communication is key and the district takes pride in first assessing appropriately with law enforcement and determining the right course of action and then communicating with families to the extent which they are able. Social media can be both a benefit and a challenge when it comes to working through issues that are happening in real time, Miller said.

“One of the pieces that from time to time will come up is the desire for more information or more specific information and one of the realities of working in an education environment is there are laws, federal laws and state laws, that dictate how and what we communicate around individual students,” he said. “So again, that’s a challenge. We do our very best to be transparent, clear and timely and we also understand that those communications do not always meet every individual person’s needs, but they certainly are designed and intended to communicate with our public and that’s something we reflect on and continue to work through.”

Miller said administrators appreciate the community at Pine-Richland and were grateful for the support of students and families at managing and working through the incidents as they continue to work to make their schools a safe and positive place for students.

In a note to parents afterwards, district officials wrote, “The cyber threat received by the district constitutes a terroristic threat in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The district will pursue charges to the fullest extent of the law.”