Bomb threat used as a civics lesson

A civics lesson that everyone can relate to took place Tuesday morning at Hood River Valley High School.

In response to Monday’s bomb threat, which emptied the school just before noon, teachers devoted first-period classes Tuesday to hearing from students about what happened.

The bomb threat was found by a student in a bathroom, and the school was evacuated on the advice of local law enforcement (story, page A1).

The note said that a bomb would be exploded in third period, according to Supt. Dan Goldman.

The school responded quickly, in association with the sheriff’s office and the school district office.

“We got the buses down in 15 minutes. I am really proud of our transportation director, Cindy Simms,” Goldman said. “When I told her we need to run the routes now, she said she would get on the phone with all the bus drivers and have all the buses there in 15. I hung up and didn’t think any more about it, and it happened as she said.

“When the buses got there we notified staff and students, and a lot of people wanted more information. We said, ‘That’s for tomorrow; right now we need for you to go home.’”

Goldman added that “a few kids tried to get back in and get something out of their locker, and we told them they would need to leave it until tomorrow and they pretty much all said, ‘okay.’

“No contraband was reported found” in the locker sweep, Goldman said.

School officials will review Monday’s events from a communications and procedural standpoint, and local law enforcement will assess the response with the School Violence Prevention Committee, according to Sheriff Matt English.

But the first debriefing would begin with the students, according to Goldman.

“We will have conversations in first period about safety of the school and their mutual respect for each other and taking ownership of the climate of the school. We will talk to kids about how this makes them feel and what they want to do about it and how they want to respond to the community about this kind of incident, and empower the kids to have a real conversation with each other about what the want the school to be, and listen to them about their desires.

Goldman added, “When we get a threat about that and police are recommending something we will work with the police in helping them do their job; but one of my biggest fears is kids get excited and then it happens again, and we’re relying on our kids to take ownership of their school and tell their kids that this is just not an acceptable thing to happen in their school.”

“What’s great about HRVHS is that we trust our kids to do the right thing and well rely on our students to make it as safe as possible,” he said.

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