Artwork courtesy of Eli Cantor: “MHS students had to sit on the field for multiple hours because of a bomb threat.”
Was the recent evacuation worth the trouble?
On Tuesday, May 24th, MHS students and faculty found themselves settling down onto the turf outside of school unexpectedly around noon. With the announcement that they would have a prolonged stay outside, students grouped themselves into circles and sat down to relax. Some made a mad dash for their cars or the neighboring town building; others resigned themselves to the waiting and took out sketchpads, notes, and Snapchat. The cause of the two-hour break? A bomb threat written in one of the bathrooms, for which the police had been called in to investigate the building.
As time went on, students began to complain about heat. The sun was at its highest point of the day, and there was little shade on or around the turf to escape the 73-degree temperatures. “Why aren’t they sending us home?” became a common cry on the football field. After almost two hours, the announcement that it was finally safe to go back to class was met with groans from those who had hoped to get out of the day’s classes, and once finally back in their classes, many found it difficult to refocus for the forty minutes left in the school day. The next day, some discovered sunburns on the back of their arms, and more complaints arose.
So, why weren’t students sent home? Or, as some asked, why was the school evacuated in the first place if it was just bathroom graffiti? Everyone is familiar with the occasional doodles or cryptic messages written on the stalls; few take them seriously. The answer, simply put, is that in the case of student safety, everything has to be taken seriously. A potentially unnecessary evacuation is far preferable to the possibility of students being in real, life-threatening danger. Staying in school when there was even a slight increase in the chance of lives being at risk was never an option.
The turf, being fenced in and confined, was an easy place to organize students and get out information. Yes, it would have been easier for some to go home, but a spur of the moment dismissal would have been chaotic. Some students left backpacks and keys in the school and wouldn’t have been able to leave; others rely on their parents or school buses for a ride home. In the midst of a dangerous situation, releasing a full student body to roam at will in the area could have yielded disastrous results. Keeping students together also provided the opportunity for information to be spread if and when necessary, and quickly.
Even though the concept of going back into the school was scary and shocking for some students, at least teachers had some time to communicate with their students, something else that couldn’t have occurred if school had been dismissed. Additionally, when students came back in the next day, there was little to no fear about the previous day’s events, whereas sending students home may have created more trepidation about going back the next day.
Essentially, although many students were hesitant about remaining on school property when the school may be under attack, and some suffered in the heat, everyone was safe during the evacuation, and that is most important. It’s easy to treat bomb threats as a break from classes, but in reality they are severe hazards and not to be taken lightly. Sunburns and dehydration are preferable to the endangering of student and faculty lives every day of the week.