PITTSBURG — A threat to Pittsburg High School appears to have been resolved without incident Wednesday.
Local law enforcement was out in force Wednesday morning, checking bags and simply providing a presence on the PHS campus.
According to Crawford County Sheriff Dan Peak around a dozen officers from the Pittsburg Police Department and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office were present in and around the building and checking bags as students came in.
“Fortunately for us most of these threats are handled quickly,” Peak said. “The student body seemed to appreciate us being there and we’re glad to give them a sense of security.”
Students and staff were required to enter the building through the front entrance and any bags were checked as they came in.
“Actually the process went very smoothly,” USD 250 Spokesman Zach Fletcher said.
All students and staff came in through the front entrance and had their bags checked.”
The increased security was necessitated by a threat discovered Tuesday at the school.
PPD Major Brent Narges said there was a “non-specific threat that was located (at the school).” He said it was a written threat but would not elaborate further.
No arrests have been made, but both Narges and Peak said the matter remains under investigation and “persons of interest” have been interviewed.
Some parents expressed concern on social media, as apparently the school’s automated calling system failed to alert all parents about the threat and added security.
“It was something with our call system … we are remedying that situation,” Fletcher said. “We of course want 100 percent of our messages to go out to parents.”
Pittsburg Superintendent of Schools Destry Brown echoed that sentiment and said technology upgrades underway in the district may have interfered with the system, but said parental notifications were resent later Tuesday evening.
Whether the increased police presence will continue remains up in the air, as Peak said the need will be reevaluated on a day-to-day basis to see if more is needed or can be scaled back.
Brown said the district is also looking at additional security and will be addressing the matter at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
“That’s on the agenda for Monday night,” Brown said. “We’re looking at another layer of security.”
Currently the front doors are unlocked during the day, but allow access only to the office where visitors must be “buzzed through” in order to enter the school proper.
However, Brown said, the district will be looking at keeping the front doors locked as well and having all visitors “buzzed through” first to the office and then to the school.
Brown said metal detectors have been considered, but the logistics are problematic, as they would have to be manned all day and would create the sort of bottlenecks people have become used to in airports.
“If we’re running kids through a metal detector we’re going to have to pull some of them out and wand them,” he said. “I think we’re going to go one step at a time.”
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.