Over the past week, the Owatonna High School has implemented new procedures in order to maintain a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff, after threatening messages were discovered in two different OHS restrooms. OHS Principal Mark Randall said, “Overall everything has gone well. I have to give a lot of credit to our students for their patience and understandings.” To recap, the most recent threat read as such, “The High School will be destroyed on May 12th.” As the date approached the administration, staff and security personnel kept a close watch on everything, making sure that the OHS was secured. Students adapted to the new procedures and life went on. Unfortunately, with every situation comes two sides. When students first caught wind of the security measures, rumors began spreading all throughout the school. Randall said, “We did not have any additional threats or anything like that.” However, OJHS did have a similar incident. Parents were notified via email last Monday. On May 12, although attendance was still mandatory, a large amount of students were called out. The day went through with no problems and proved the threat to be not credible. After Thursday, the administration went over the issue again, in order to decide if they needed to continue the heightened level of security. Randall added, “I think we have the best security than any other school in the Big 9.”
On Monday May 16, teachers read a statement to second hour students with changes to the original security measures. The statement said:
“All bags and jackets/coats will need to be secured in lockers from 8:00 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Only standard pencil pouches will be allowed in classrooms. This will remain in effect for at least the duration of this school year. Not only does the Owatonna Police Department highly recommend bags are not visible during the school day, this practice keeps our classrooms and halls free clutter.
If a student has a health concern that would warrant an accommodation, please have them check in with Anna Durst in the Nurse’s office. All accommodations will need to be approved by administration.
The sign out system will continue to be used in order for students to leave and return to the classroom while class is in session. This will also remain in effect for at least the duration of this school year.
Bag searches will continue on a periodic basis. This can include, but not be limited to, school-wide searches and, as necessary individual student bag searches.
Hats are also not allowed on your head at any time from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. This includes skull caps and winter hats. Your teacher or a staff member will ask you to take the hat off and may also take the hat.”
At this moment, it is likely that bags and coats must be stored in lockers and classroom check out procedures may continue into the next school year. Lastly, administration reminded students that poor behavior will not be tolerated, and they have high expectations for all students, wanting students to finish the year off strong.