SCASD Responds to Threats at Bellefonte, Other Local Schools

Data showing the number of school shootings in recent years. 2023 is based off of current data from K-12 Dive, other years are from ABC7. Graphic created by Elijah Russell

Data showing the number of school shootings in recent years. 2023 is based off of current data from K-12 Dive, other years are from ABC7. Graphic created by Elijah Russell

Elijah Russell

On Wed. morning, March 29, several counties in the state of Pennsylvania received phony threatening phone calls. Hollidaysburg, Altoona, Bellefonte, and Bishop Caroll were some of the schools that were surrounded by police in response to the calls. The details of the phone calls were that several students had been shot, and each call contained a message roughly along those lines. 

Not only was the message alarming to everyone, but students found it especially disturbing due to the current state of the US. Nashville, Michigan State University, and several other locations around the United States have already been subject to school shootings. At the rate the shootings are occurring, the year 2023 is expected to almost double the record high of last year’s total amount of mass shootings. According to the founder of the K-12 School Shooting Database, David Riedman, in a statement made to K-12 Dive, there will be a predicted 400 shootings this year. 

“Obviously, there’s going to be some scare factor there. I feel like with the current realm around us in this Nation, with all the shootings going on, you’re definitely going to be at least a little bit tense,” Senior Jedidiah Yang said.

No student, parent, teacher, or staff in a school environment wishes to be in the building with an active shooter, so it was only natural that the news of nearby school districts going into lockdown and evacuation would strike fear into students of State High. 

“Around 10:35-10:40, they called down the student leadership council,” Sophomore and student leadership council member, Peter Corby said.

The student leadership council is composed of the student government and the senates of all four grades, meaning it was composed of people with leadership positions at the school. On top of this, assistant principals and the school resource officers were present at the meeting. 

“They filled us in on the situation and gave us the ‘here’s what we need you guys to do,’” Corby said. 

During times like these, there is an entire protocol in place, including lockdown drills, and reminders of the Run, Hide, Fight protocol are given every year, informing students on the proper steps to do when there is a threat in the building. On top of just knowing what to do, State High has the school resource officer–Officer John Aston–to help. These precautions being in place mean that State High is totally unprepared for a threat, and could avoid or stay as safe as possible from the danger. 

Zooming out from this year and focusing on the bigger picture of threats at State College Area School District, this is far from the first one.

“I’m a senior, so I feel like I personally felt safe enough, although I was a bit concerned with how things were going through the past year or two. I mean, we’ve received two to three, maybe even four gun threats to our school.” Yang said.

Senior Salahudinn Abdul-Hamid had a similar comment.

 “We’ve had multiple threats before that, it happens so much that I’ve kinda become desensitized to it,” Abdul-Hamid said. 

Currently, there will always be the lingering possibility of schools receiving threats just like the ones given on the 29th, especially if little continues to be done about the problem. The issue has become especially scary in recent times due to the rise in school shootings in the past few years. In the event of a threat, all students should refer to the Run, Hide, Fight protocols to stay safe.