Bucks County Herald

Central Bucks deals with attack false alarm

Parents assured that school safety is a top priority


More than 100 parents, students and officials gathered in the Central Bucks High Education Services Center on Feb. 27 for a community conversation about school security. It happened during the public comment portion of the school board meeting.

The sizable crowd was prompted by a possible threat at Central Bucks South in Warrington Township on Feb. 26.

About two dozen Doylestown and surrounding residents spoke at the meeting, which was also attended by school administrators and school board members.

A CB South senior tearfully described the fear she felt from the alleged threat to shoot up the school during the ALICE drill on Feb. 26.

“I would never have thought I would be scared to go to school, but I felt that way today and did not go,” she said. She thanked students for reporting the threat. “It’s time to stand up and really do something about it. It shouldn’t happen again.”

Bill Senevitis, a teacher and head of the teachers union, said he appreciated the district’s support and educating all on safe and updated procedures.

“It’s an endless list of what ifs that none of us had on our radar years ago,” he said.

Board President Glenn Schloeffel said student safety is the top priority. He said some things can be discussed and some cannot to preserve safety. The board said it has full confidence in Dr. John Kopicki and his staff to maintain safe schools and security for all students.

The discussion addressed both the physical safety measures at school buildings and how the community can help prevent a student from resorting to violence or support those who report potential threats.

Most of those who spoke advocated for safety improvements at the district’s schools, including calls for metal detectors and increased security at entrances.

There was no credible threat at CB South, Warrington Township police confirmed following an investigation into the matter. Police said they were called in to investigate the threat, which was determined to be the result of a three-month-old Snapchat conversation between a few students, police said.

Parent Mary Eileen Baltes said her daughter and other students are vulnerable and could not outrun a shooter. She asked to harden school security, get a security audit and tighten protocols to make schools safer. She requested using technology to conduct social media sweeps for threats.

Authorities did not reveal the contents of the Snapchat, which was exchanged in November, and further said they do not know why it resurfaced to cause alarm.

“At this point, the police have no information as to why the comment resurfaced and there is no credible threat to the school for tomorrow or the future. The police take all reports of a potential crime as a serious matter and will investigate until all leads have been exhausted,” Warrington police said.

Warrington police reminded residents there is a school resource officer stationed in CB South and officers have increased police presence at all of the schools in Warrington Township.

Turning to a planned student walkout that developed from the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., CB West parent Mariann Davies said the school board/principals should not support a walkout. Some students are being bullied over differences of opinion over the March 14 walkout, she said. Davies asked about the safety and chaperoning for those who walk out and those who don’t.

The walkout events are planned across the country after 17 students, teachers and coaches were killed and numerous people injured in the massacre. Students participating in the national walkout will leave their classrooms for 17 minutes – one minute for each life taken at the school on Feb. 14, according to organizers.

Other area schools planning walkouts include Council Rock North, Pennsbury, New Hope-Solebury and more.
Kopicki said he is not going to publicly support a walkout, but he recognized they may want to and asked that if they do that it be a peaceful protest inside, citing safety.

“The conversations continue, and we support them (the students),” Kopicki said. “We will continue to protect them. I will communicate as much as I can.”

Kopicki continued saying social media is a problem, especially with spreading rumors. He asked everyone to be thoughtful and productive on social media.

Kopicki said that he is grateful for community support and humbled by it. He praised the board, the administrators, the principals and the teachers.

“They are exceptional. I have never seen teachers who educate the whole child better than in Central Bucks,” Kopicki said.



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