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District Threat Update

Monday, September 12, 2022, 4:30 PM

Dear Parkland Staff and Families,

As we headed back to school today, I realize that safety was on everyone’s mind. We were all affected by the unsettling message that a threat was made in our community.  During the past few days, it was determined by the police that it was in the best interest of the criminal investigation to withhold specifics so as to not jeopardize their efforts. We understand that the lack of information has been stressful.

The threat that was made was specific to last Thursday.  On Friday, we decided to close schools out of an abundance of caution.  Due to the passage of time and lack of additional threats, after school activities began resuming on Friday and all schools reopened today, September 12th. The South Whitehall Township, Upper Macungie Township Police and Pennsylvania State Police provided additional Officers and Troopers at the District schools today to help ensure the safety of students and staff.  Additionally, administrators were on site at all schools during the time when children enter school in the morning and when they leave at the end of the day.  Resources will continue to be made available to help safeguard our schools.

The investigation into who lodged this threat is still ongoing, and South Whitehall Township released this statement that provides some detail about the situation.  It is the joint goal of the Parkland School District and our law enforcement partners: South Whitehall Township Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Upper Macungie Township Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide a safe and healthy environment for students and staff within all District schools.  With that said, all of us—students, parents, and school employees—have an important role to play in keeping our campus(es) safe.  At home, parents/guardians can help by establishing a foundation of communication with their students. Talk to your child about the proper outlets for stress, anger, and other emotions, monitor their social media, and engage in dialogue about the consequences of their words and actions. Our goal is that a student should never be scared to report concerns to a trusted adult - even if they think the person they heard it from was making a joke, or that the person would not follow through on what they said, etc. Below are a few things to know and share with your child to help keep our schools as safe as possible:
 

  • Parkland School District and the local and state police who service our community take every threat seriously.

  • If your student comes to you with something alarming they heard or saw on social media, help them report it to the appropriate source. Report any suspicious behavior as early intervention can prevent a situation from escalating. 

  • If you see or hear a threat, call 911 if there is any possibility of immediate risk to someone. 

  • Contact Safe2Say to report a school threat or concern anonymously. 

  • Parkland School District Administrators work with local law enforcement to follow up on every tip and suspicious activity report they receive.

  • The consequences of making threats can include suspension or expulsion from school and criminal prosecution.

Early intervention can prevent a future tragedy. Reporting any threat allows law enforcement time to identify, assess, and manage the threat. Anyone with information related to this investigation should contact the South Whitehall Township Police Department at 610-398-0337 or email pdinfo@swtpd.org. Students are encouraged to utilize the Safe2Say Program to provide information that may aid in this investigation. The intent is to hold the person or persons responsible for this threat criminally accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law.

Together, we can help ensure our students are safe, supported, and ready to learn, grow, and thrive. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Madson

Superintendent of Schools

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Sunday, September 11, 2022

Good Evening Parkland Families and Staff,

All Parkland Schools will operate on a normal schedule for Monday, September 12, 2022.  Law enforcement continues to investigate the Safe2Say threat toward Orefield Middle School from last week. 

District personnel, along with law enforcement, completed a sweep of Orefield Middle School on Friday and completed an inspection of all school transportation vehicles.  This was done as an extra precaution.  Additionally, South Whitehall Township Police, Upper Macungie Township Police, and the Pennsylvania State Police will provide an increased police presence throughout Monday at our schools.  Our number one priority is the safety of our students and staff.   We are confident in our safety efforts.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding. We will continue to communicate updates into the investigation as more information becomes available.  In order to assist you during this difficult time, we are providing information that may help you support your child(ren) at home while discussing a return to school.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Madson

Superintendent of Schools

Parkland School District