Parents of students attending schools in Hawthorne were alarmed by a district-wide text message sent by Mineral County School District Superintendent Karen Watson on Tuesday, Oct. 2 that read, “Today, a report was made that a student was going to bring a gun to MCHS tomorrow. After a thorough investigation by MCSD and the Sheriffs Dept. the report was unfounded. The safety of our students is our top priority, extra precautions including the involvement of the Sheriffs dept. who will be on site tomorrow have been put in place.”
In a phone interview with the superintendent, Watson explained that after the report of the alleged threat, she quickly contacted Mineral County Sheriff’s Department who investigated and found no incident.
It was found to an instance where a child “thought” they heard what someone said. From the “thought” became a major incident of the telephone game (where a phrase is whispered into an ear, onto another person and the last person to receive the message must repeat what they thought they heard).
“My responsibility is to keep the kids safe,” Watson said. She further explained that though the incident was unfounded – the report was taken seriously.
Adults took to social media voicing their concerns about their children, so in an effort to address the incident, Mineral County Sheriff Randy Adams also posted.
“Citizens of Mineral County. The Sheriff’s Office responded to an alleged threat at the High School today. After a thorough investigation the call was found to be completely unfounded! The safety of the children of Mineral County is paramount and therefore we will continue to have a presence in our schools. I hope this will set your minds at ease.”
Though parents received the message from the superintendent and sheriff, many parent chose to keep their children out of school on Wednesday morning, though deputies were on site as well as “extra people around so the kids felt secure.”
A parent meeting was held the next day, with those most concerned about the incident and from that meeting, suggesting were offered to Watson, such as more training for students on how to handle such incidents as threats.
“Though our students do monthly fire drills, they also need emergency training so our kids aren’t afraid or panicked,” Watson explained stating she has been speaking with Adams on different ideas on how to involve the children in such training drills.
Concerned parents even came forward with ideas such as firehouse doorstops and offering to volunteer more of their time on site.
Watson will be implementing “Soup with Sup” – a meeting where members of the community (parents or not) can come to the district office, have lunch with her and discuss ideas that are beneficial to the district.
“This was a learning experience. We will move forward in a positive manner,” Watson explained. “Thank you to all the parents who came forward to discuss ideas and volunteer.”
If you have concerns about the threat, Watson is available to meet as well as her staff.
“We are one team,” she concluded.