Governor Mifflin parents sound off about safety concerns

District, law enforcement seek to calm fears

Video report by WFMZ's Tom Rader

SHILLINGTON, Pa. - Parents who have kids in the Governor Mifflin School District spoke out Thursday night at a community forum and town hall-style meeting, as the district looked to take the conversation off social media and bring it face-to-face with parents.

"I think, like the rest of America, we're all concerned about our kids safety at school," said Theresa Lape, the mother of an eighth-grade student in the district.

"How are they going to not sit in school and be worried about someone shooting up the school?" Beth Groscup, the mother of two freshmen at Governor Mifflin High School said. "They're talking about [how] they want to be home-schooled, and I want them to go to school."

During the meeting about school safety, parents got heated at times with Superintendent Steve Gerhard, District Attorney John Adams and each other, as they asked for better handling of social media rumors and about an incident in January.

"That was not a threat, but unfortunately yesterday [it] turned into a rumor," Gerhard said. "While we tried to put information out on social media and through a ConnectEd message, we saw that there was still a lot of misinformation being repeated."

The district attorney said the student in question could not be charged due to insufficient evidence.

"The photo put out on social media was absolutely inappropriate, but it did not constitute a threat or intent to carry out a threat," Adams said.

The district attorney said he hopes town halls like this one inform and calm fears.

"We hope tonight to put aside some of the hysteria that has developed, not only here but quite frankly throughout our county," Adams said.

Still parents expressed concerns about getting information.

"It's like yelling fire in a theater," Lape said. "Everyone is on edge right now, so we need to communicate with the district so we're getting accurate information."

School officials, like Gerhard, said they take all threats seriously and will continue to work on informing parents effectively.

"We do take everything seriously," he said. "[Know] that we're not sweeping things under the rug or that we're not trying to keep our public informed."

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