OHS evacuated after threat


Christian Kelling

Due to threat, OHS evacuated on Friday, April 15. More threats have been made. Owatonna Law Enforcement has been involved in making decisions for safety procedures

On Friday, April 15, what started out like any regular day at the Owatonna High School ended quite differently. At 2:15 p.m., Principal Mark Randall went over the intercom, informing students and staff members of an evacuation within the school. Shortly after, fire alarms sounded throughout the school, signaling for everyone to evacuate. As students and staff walked towards the assigned evacuation sites, questions began to arise and speculation erupted between students and staff about the cause of the evacuation. At approximately 2:45, the all clear was given, allowing students and staff back into the building. A call was then sent to parents of OHS students, confirming that the evacuation had been caused by a threat.

In situations such as this, it is up to OHS administration to act quickly in order to keep the students safe. OHS practices evacuations, lockdowns and fire drills regularly. Because of the 2014 fire, OHS students and staff take emergency procedures very seriously. Assistant Principal Nicole Adams said, “As the result of a non-specific threat, it was determined at approximately 2:05 that the building would need to be evacuated as a precautionary measure by 2:15. A plan and decisions as to how to execute this plan, using our standard evacuation protocol as a template, had to be developed and communicated in a short ten minute window. Protocol for students’ safety in an event such as this is to get students as far away from any possible threat. Given the information available, this is exactly what happened and no students or staff were in harm’s way at any time today.” The administration handled the situation effectively and responsibly. Randall added, “We achieved the goal to get students out of the building and have the building checked.” Students were quickly evacuated and safety procedures were directly followed.

Further investigation is ongoing, but it has been confirmed that the threat was not credible. Adams said, “Following any threat, there is always an investigation. Consequences for making such threats are significant. They may include but are not limited to expulsion and criminal charges.” By Monday morning, students and staff were back to school and focused on the upcoming week’s standardized tests.