By: Ruthie Saylor
On September 20th, Tussey Mountain High School was evacuated after the school’s board members received a bomb threat email. Several other schools nationwide had also received similar threats last week and none were found to be real.
As soon as the emails were received by the board members, Dr. Shoemake, the superintendent of Tussey Mountain, evacuated the students out of “an abundance of caution.” Shoemake says, “Once I got a copy of the actual email that was received by the board, I saw that it was obviously a fake email.” The email spoke in the same manner that Dr. Shoemake was warned about. The email did not identify Tussey Mountain or any other schools and instead read “your schools.”
After speaking with the school’s security officer, Mr. Villa, the school was deemed safe and students continued their day as normal. Several other schools in the IU8 area received a similar email on September 20th. Everett Area High School also chose to evacuate after receiving a similar email. Northern Bedford also received a threat but chose not to evacuate their students. Both emails were received just before the Tussey Mountain board members received their emails.
When the announcement was made to evacuate, students and staff did not know about the situation. Shoemake says, “sometimes you have these drills that you don’t plan and they’re more effective… because you’re not expecting them.” Staff didn’t know what was going on, but they knew they had to evacuate the students “because that’s the most important thing, getting [students] out of the building.”
When the announcement went off students were also confused. Sophomore Alex Brumbaugh says, “usually there is like a fire alarm… but they literally just said [over the public address system], ‘all students and staff please exit the building.’”
In the end the students moved on with their day as normal.