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Students prepare to return to school Oct. 4 following threats

Nick Irwin, Online Editor

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The police department will be fulfilling a request from the district to perform proactive security sweeps of each school building prior to classes beginning Oct. 4. Due to this, there will be a two-hour late start in effect to ensure the sweeps will be thoroughly completed. There will also be additional law enforcement presence at each building throughout the school day.

Ashley Roberts ’18 believes that the district was wise in their decision to cancel school for the day. However, Roberts still believes that the JPD should not have deemed the threats as not credible.

“How credible do they need it to be before something bad happens?” Roberts said. “They say hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t want this to be a situation where we had plenty warning and something still went bad.”

While not all information has been released publicly, JPD has kept Superintendent Corey Lunn updated on the investigation. Lunn said today at a press conference that he feels comfortable opening the schools with the current information.

Roberts does not understand why the texts are so difficult to track and have not been tracked yet.

“Here we sit nearly 24 hours later and everyone’s running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” Roberts said.

Though Roberts is glad the FBI was brought in to work on the case, she feels that the recent events in Johnston have damaged the city’s and students’ reputation.

“I am not proud to be from Johnston at the moment since we’ve been in the news for very bad things three times in the last week,” Roberts said. “People in our school seem to think it’s funny and they can crack jokes about it, but at the end of the day this is not okay and something needs to change.”

The combination of the recent threats and the arrests made Sept. 28 have made Roberts anxious to attend class. Roberts also fears the threats becoming actions in the near future.

“What’s to stop whoever this is from postponing their plans to a week from now or a month from now or at some point when no one expects it?” Roberts said.

Tanner Bowman ’18 is shocked by the detail that the messages went to. While he does not fully support the reaction of the JPD and the school district, he understands their dilemma.

Threats circulating social media have not been verified by JPD or the district at this point. JPD released a statement on their Facebook page stating that there is misinformation circulating on social media.

“The district is in a tough spot,” Bowman said. “You have the safety of the kids in your hands along with their education in the other, so you have to decide which is more important, though at the same time you can only miss so much of school.”

With the increased law enforcement, Bowman feels comfortable continuing class.

“I’d hope there’s increased security from local law enforcement to ensure our safety both on campus and off campus,” Bowman said.

Tammy Dial has two children in the district, with one at Summit and one at the high school. Dial has felt a mix of emotions because of the threats.

I wonder what Johnston has become,” Dial said. “From having suicides because of one reason or another, which were sad enough, to lately, the four students who committed the horrific crime a week or so ago to this.” 

Dial never believed that a threat like this would be made in Johnston.

“I didn’t think that Johnston would have such evil people, whether he or she would do this as a prank or be serious about it,” Dial said. “Even if it was a prank, it’s still a serious issue and I’m glad [the district] didn’t push it aside and think it was a prank.”

Even though Dial does not feel wholly comfortable sending her kids back to school Oct. 4, she understands that she cannot protect them from everything.

“Life goes on and if I get scared from everything that happens in this world, what am I teaching my kids?” Dial said. “I’ve heard moms saying they’re keeping their kids home tomorrow and in a way don’t blame them, but at the same time, they, and we, have to live.”

Read further coverage following updates of the threats and investigation here

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