Changes made following recent threats


Adebola Adepoju

The first of several school threats caused parents to keep their children home from school on October 3. Since then, several changes to school communications and procedures have been made.

Cecily Shaber and Adebola Adepoju

At the beginning of the month, Starr’s Mill was put under pressure by multiple threats of a shooting found written on bathroom walls at the school. In those tense few days, security was increased, school rules were more strictly enforced, and everyone was on edge.

As the initial fear of the situation wears off, many of the changes to safety protocols remain in place. 

“I think the biggest thing that we learned was the importance of communicating early and accurately to our students and our parents,” principal Allen Leonard said.

The first message in the series was found written on the white brick wall of a boys’ bathroom on September 30. The community was informed two days later via email. The threat read: “Don’t come to school October 3rd. I’m going to bring a gun and will kill anybody I see. F**k you Lenord you bald b*stard.”

As soon as the email was sent out, the discussion erupted on social media. A slew of concerned parents were angered by the delayed information and kept their children home from school for a number of days in the name of safety. All students have been excused of their absences on October 3.

“Looking back now, I know that when you find out about something like that from Facebook or from social media as opposed to finding out directly from the school, you end up with a lot more questions and a lot more fear than you do if you heard about it first from us,” Leonard said.

On October 6, additional threats were found vandalizing the school bathrooms, and surveillance came down even harder. The use of bathroom passes and the 10/10 rule were then strictly enforced.

These regulations continue to be held in place. In addition, teachers and administrators check the bathrooms before and after school as well as between every class change to prevent further threats.