CHURCHILL, Pa. (KDKA) — Woodland Hills High School students will attend classes virtually on Thursday and Friday after a threat was made by a student on social media.
This is the second time the district has gone back to virtual learning due to a threat. Last week, the district canceled in-person classes for two days due to “credible threats” following a fight involving dozens of students.READ MORE: COVID Surge At Butler Memorial Hospital Has Surgeons Prioritizing Elective Surgeries
On Wednesday night, a community meeting was held between district administrators and parents to discuss the recent incidents and hear from parents to answer questions and give feedback.
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Most parents expressed to the district that their children feel unsafe and questioned how the school planned to handle the recent threats.
“My concern is what parents get from these robocalls. I think they’re toned down. I think the situation could be worse than what parents know,” one parent said.
Parents said they want more communication from the district when a threat or incident at the school happens.READ MORE: Protest Held Outside Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's Home Hours Before COVID-19 Vaccination Deadline For Employees
“Our priority was making sure the students were safe,” the district said.
The district said proactive safety measures are in place, including having security cameras installed across campus. The district added that students are also required to go through metal detectors when entering the school and their book bags are also checked by security every morning.
“The security has been … crap for years,” another parent said. “School is supposed to be a safe haven. And right now, I’m not really seeing that for Woodland Hills and that’s disturbing.”
The district said it’s reviewing its policies and practices and warned that any student that’s involved in a school fight or is found making threats will receive the harshest penalties the school is legally allowed to give.
Meantime, district officials said security officers at the school have received crisis prevention and de-escalation training, and they are looking to hire more.
“A big part of this also is continuing training. When closed due to COVID, we lost some veteran guards and were working on a skeleton crew for 18 months. We’re trying to get those guards back or hire new personnel,” said Mike Pietragallo, safety and security coordinator for Woodland Hills High School.
More than 400 parents attended the near-four-hour meeting.MORE NEWS: 5,000-6,000 Gallons Of Gas Spilled Into Washington County Stream
The district said as it works to improve its policies, it will continue to take every step necessary to ensure the safety of its students and staff.