The communication below is a follow-up regarding rumors of a threat at Solanco High School.
In the evening on Thursday, December 9, high school students shared with district administrators rumors of an online threat posted on Snapchat.
School District administration immediately began an investigation, which included the following:
- Communication with our School Resource Officer and the Pennsylvania State Police
- Assembly of relevant members of Solanco’s Threat Assessment Team
- Initiation of our Threat Assessment Protocol
In short, there was no specific threat of violence nor was there an identified student.
Social media postings included rumors only. However, the rumors online quickly became amplified and misinformation grew.
The threat was determined to be not credible, but we needed to ensure we fully completed our investigation out of an abundance of caution.
We did not want to end the investigation prematurely, which is why we moved to remote instruction at Solanco High School today.
Once we made this decision to move to remote instruction for SHS, we communicated in the following ways Thursday evening:
- Website post
- Facebook post
- Instagram post
- Phone call to all families of high school students
- Email to all students
We apologize for the lateness of the call and appreciate your understanding.
There are many “thank-you’s” and some important notes to share as a result of this incident:
Thank you to the students who notified district administrators and teachers of their concerns. It is essential that students feel comfortable expressing concerns to district staff about any issue. This is the most important component of any school safety plan.
Thank you to the parents who notified us directly. Your care, concern, and prompt attention were both essential and greatly appreciated. Please continue to do so when concerns arise so that we have as much information as possible.
Thank you to law enforcement for their prompt response. A special “thank-you” to Officer Dilworth for his efforts here.
Thank you to our high school administrators for working on this immediately and through the night.
Thank you to Solanco teachers, staff, and students for quickly adapting to a Remote Learning Day.
Rumors spread almost instantly on social media. Misinformation grows very quickly, as well, and many rumors were amplified and increasingly incorrect as the evening went on. There was an increased urgency in parent communication (understandably) that was occurring as we were conducting an investigation.
While we understand some feel the need to post their concerns first on social media, we much prefer a direct contact so that we can act immediately with as much information as possible.
Schools in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and the nation have been addressing many similar posts and situations, especially in the past week. They have been fueled by social media.
We would also like to reiterate how seriously we take student safety. Within the past 6 years, Solanco has implemented many safety measures, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Implementing a School Resource Officer Program
- Funding construction/architectural changes to improve safety
- Forming school and district-level Safety Committees
- Creating a Threat Assessment Team including threat assessment training
- Creating a jot form for online reporting of concerns
- Creating anonymous “Lend-a-Hand” lockers at the secondary level for reporting of concerns
- Implementing the Statewide Safe2Say reporting system
- Installing cameras in all school building
- Installing Raptor Visitor Management Systems in each school building
- Conducting Pennsylvania State Police RVAT building safety audits and implementing recommendation
This is by no means a complete list. Importantly, we continue to commit to and refine this list; we continue to add safety measures.
Notably, the system operated well—we were notified quickly, we responded immediately, followed our protocols, and made a decision to move to remote learning in order to fully complete our investigation out of an abundance of caution.
Social media has made raising children more difficult. We will continue to work together to help students understand responsible social media use.
Thank you for your support, concern, and communication. We all must continue to work together to ensure student safety. The strength of the community and the care and concern for the children of Solanco continues to be demonstrated. Thank you!