Lehigh Valley

Parents, students, and schools on edge after Florida shooting

Schools having to make tough choices on safety.

HEIDELBERG TOWNSHIP, LEHIGH COUNTY, Pa. - The increase in threats and rumors at local schools since the shooting in Florida is creating challenges for administrators in the Lehigh Valley.

On Thursday, Northwestern Lehigh School District officials sent a letter to parents and staff after one of its students reported something they learned.

The district investigated the matter along with state police and determined there was no credible threat.

However, the district's response has left some people who wanted to know more frustrated.

"We are involved in a very emotional week, area in the country and it makes parents uneasy," said Jennifer Holman, Northwestern Lehigh School District Assistant Superintendent.

Holman says she understands the issues some people may have about the lack of information they received but in the end, the safety and security of her students comes first.

“Sometimes I'm able to tell them if it were your child that had an issue or had a problem, we would equally provide the same protection for your child as we're providing for this student,” explained Holman.

Holman would not reveal the specifics of the security concern but did mention there was a lot of misinformation on social media.

"We started an investigation immediately and part of our job is to determine based on student interviews and information that's provided to us and I will say in this case our students did an exceptional job," Holman.

Austin Stasko, a senior at Northwestern, admits there was tension at home about whether to come to school following the concern but his peers assured him everything would be ok.

"From talk amongst students here, I kinda had a decent idea of what was actually happening," said Stasko.

One thing the students have been taught is if they see something to say something.

Benjamin Fry, another senior, is proud of his classmates for doing so as are parents and teachers.

"I think that's incredible someone was strong enough to say, "hey, I saw this post or this text saying I might do something to the school and they were strong enough to come forward," said Fry.

"Our students are listening to us. Our students are taking good advice from their parents and the staff and they're friends as well and they're speaking up when they're concerned and feeling uncomfortable in a situation which is very important in this situation,” said high school counselor Nicole Zimmerman.

Assistant Superintendent Holman says in these situations she tries to explain the safety procedures and validity of the concern. She says if she didn't feel everything was ok students would not be in school.

Moving forward, the district will have additional security as a precaution and they are looking into other security measures.

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