Superintendent+Grant+and+Director+of+Operations+Tom+Sager+both+helped+with+bag+checks+on+Monday%2C+May+9+

Katie Skalicky

Superintendent Grant and Director of Operations Tom Sager both helped with bag checks on Monday, May 9

Monday’s student reaction

May 9, 2016

On Monday, May 9, the Owatonna High School started their bomb threat procedure. To follow protocol, the students proceeded through the gym and main door entrances. Upon entering the high school, students’ bags were searched by administration. After the bag was approved, the students were sent to their locker to store their items as the school day went on. All for the safety of the students at OHS. However, there are some students that would disagree.

One twitter post regarding bag checks prior to Monday's security
One twitter post regarding bag checks prior to Monday’s security

Before bag searches, students started taking their frustration to Twitter and other social media websites on Thursday before the formal announcement was made. This prompted a release of the instant alert to families around 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 5. Some tweets by students included trendy hashtags like #fannypackfever and images of backpacks with #RIP. Even this morning, students were showing frustration after the backpack checks. Sophomore Sarah Spears said, “I don’t mind the search, but I don’t think that we need to put our backpacks in our lockers after they’ve already been searched.” Also, within the past two weeks, Owatonna High School has been featured multiple times on the popular Twitter user Minnesota High School Confession.

Different opinion on bag searches
Different opinion on bag searches

However, there has been a lot of support from students and staff towards administration and what they’ve done to keep the school safe. On Twitter, there were a rare handful of tweets showing support towards administration, along with more hashtags including #keepussafe. Senior Grace Thurnau said, “I thought the backpack searches were necessary, even though it might be an inconvenience to some people.” Speculative tweets died down after Monday’s security measures.

Staff in the building have been asked to be more visible during the school day. Mr. Kevin Stelter also commented, “As teachers, our job right now is to be on hall and door duty to make sure everyone is kept safe.”

Freshman David Crawford puts belongings in locker. Staff secure doors to Harriet Street
Katie Skalicky
Freshman David Crawford puts belongings in locker. Staff secure doors to Harriet Street

 

OHS staff was assigned to watch hallways and entrances to the school while administration took care of backpack searches. Along with help from staff and administration, there is an increase in visible security including a larger presence of patrol officers in the building. Assistant Principal Mr. Jeff Miller said, “This morning everything went okay. We now understand that there needs to be more help with checking to make it faster, and maybe even an express line for the students that are only bringing books in. Overall, the students had a good attitude about the situation this morning.” Extra security precautions will continue until an end date is given.

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