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Social media triggers panic at PHS

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Social media triggers panic at PHS

Screenshot of Palatine High School's website on Monday.

Screenshot of Palatine High School's website on Monday.

Screenshot of Palatine High School's website on Monday.

Screenshot of Palatine High School's website on Monday.

Danielle Ugalde and Rhea D'Mello

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There was a false suspicion of a potential school shooting at Palatine High School on Monday 5, 2018. As a result many concerned students did not attend school on Monday.

“I don’t blame the students and parents for not attending,” Principal Gary Steiger said.

On Sunday evening, the school was notified of the threat through emails sent to teachers and the principal by the students. In addition, information was received through the anonymous tip line.

Upon investigation, it was found that the cause of all this concern directed back to an image circulating social media. The image in question was found to be an altered picture of a rifle with a threatening message of a possible school shooting.

On Monday morning, immediately upon entering the school, students noticed police officers on the premises. In addition, Principal Steiger stood outside the main entrance to greet arriving students.

“I feel safer knowing that if anything would happen we would eliminate the waiting period when the officers would be on their way to the school,” senior Sabrina Gill said. “Since they are already here they could take action much quicker and minimal damage would occur.” 

The attendance rate at Palatine High School was about 13% of the student body. The hallways and classrooms were evident testaments to the concern students had about coming to school. Students and teachers at school were reassured that there was no threat to the school by administration.

The following day, Steiger reassured students and faculty that their safety was of the utmost importance.

“Several more days you’ll see a visible squad car, but also less obvious police presence as well. There’s no need for extra security. But it’s there for people’s well being and to reduce anxiety,” Steiger said.

The increased police security will remain for the entire week in order to give students assurance of their safety. The Palatine police department and principal Steiger are working on finding who created the alarming altered picture.

“It’s an unfortunate world we live in, no one can guarantee anyone’s security, but we can still try,” Steiger said. “We just all have to work together—society and school—to make things better.” 

In addition, principle Steiger encourages students to report any concerns they ever may have in order to strengthen our community and safety of the school.

 

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Palatine High School's student news site.
Social media triggers panic at PHS