West Perry parents demand answers on handling of school threat

ELLIOTTSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — You could feel the tension inside the West Perry High School auditorium Thursday night. Parents were lined up out the door, demanding answers about an alleged school threat.

“The superintendent or designee shall document attempts made to reach the parent or guardian,” said Joyce Rogers, a parent. The packed room cheered in agreement.

Superintendent Dr. Michael O’Brien says a miscommunication is why the community didn’t know about a threat reported in November until February. He told the group that students were not in imminent danger, but many parents weren’t satisfied with his explanation.

“Not once tonight did I hear you say I am sorry,” said Rhonda Campbell, a parent.

District Attorney Andy Bender told the crowd there wasn’t evidence that the 14-year-old boy accused of making the threat could carry it out, but he said that doesn’t mean a crime wasn’t committed.

State police charged the student with 34 counts of terroristic threats and 34 counts of harassment for making a “kill list” on a school computer.

“There was a misunderstanding between state police and the school district about who the actual victim was,” state police Lt. Randy Kane said. “As the investigating agency, we determined that those people listed on that list were the victims and not the school. As a result of the misunderstanding, notifications were not immediately made.”

“We’re going to continue to communicate on issues and suggestions,” said O’Brien. “Actually, we just got some information from Lt. Kane today about a resource to connect with a shooter drill so we can train our staff.”

For many, the trust is already broken.

“We don’t care about your boasting,” said Kim Alleman, a parent. “We want action.”

Multiple parents said they want the superintendent to be removed from his position for how he handled the situation.

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