Corry Area Schools Pleased With How Students, District and Police Responded to Threat
There was an extra security presence Monday at Corry Area Middle-High School, after a student was arrested over the weekend on charges of making terroristic threats against students and the school.
There was an extra security presence Monday at Corry Area Middle-High School, after a student was arrested over the weekend on charges of making terroristic threats against students and the school. School officials say they started the morning with a faculty meeting at their three school buildings and took input from faculty on safety protocols. Bill West, Director of Secondary Education said teachers offered important input. "They had a lot of good questions about a variety of concerns they may have regarding safety that we’ll continue to work on." West said. "We did have additional police presence in this building as well as the two elementary buildings and a police officer circulating the area, but the morning got off to a normal start attendance is very consistent with what we’ve seen overall."
Corry Police Cpl. Brian Arnink, also the full time resource officer, mingled with the students in the cafeteria as usual. He was key to investigating the potential threats made after a fight in a social setting Friday night.
Police reported on Saturday that the verbal threat, to "shoot up the school Monday" was averted with the arrest of 19-year-old senior Scott Perkins. He was arraigned on misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats against students and a felony-3 charge of terroristic threats against the school, then sent to the Erie County Prison with bond set at $25,000 cash.
The investigation began when one student used Facebook to report to a teacher her concerns over what was said. That teacher passed the information on to administrators Saturday morning, who notified Cpl. Arnink. Several other students present when the alleged comments were made, confirmed to police in interviews that Perkins warned them to stay away from school Monday, so they wouldn't get hurt.
After missed warning signs in the Parkland, Florida school shooting tragedy, Corry Schools Superintendent Bill Nichols said students did the right thing. "Oh they did the right thing, first of all it was more than one student that heard the statements loud and clear and were interviewed by the police." Nichols and West don't believe the students or the district overreacted. "I think in this day and age until you really know exactly what’s going on you have to react that an incident could very well happen here," Superintendent Nichols said.
Student Matthew Lytle said although he heard that the remarks were made in a joking manner, students seemed upset with the person who made the threat rather than those who reported it, because they seem to understand the gravity of even words. "He said it in like a joking manner...wasn’t being serious about it," Lytle said, "but because of what’s happening in the country lately it was taken this seriously and he was taken care of like this because of recent events."
Bill West reinforced in school wide morning announcements that students took the right steps. "This morning I actually made an announcement to the student body reemphasizing that we were thankful that the students came forward and they did exactly what we are asking them to do," West said.
Corry Area Schools were already in the midst of reviewing school security and safety protocols, and that process will continue. "It’s sad that you have to deal with these types of situations, but I do think it serves as a wake up call to all of us to make sure we’re on top of making sure the building is safe and secure, that we’re thoroughly looking into things that are said," West remarked, "...and definitely for the students to understand what is appropriate and what is no,t but also more importantly how to handle it if they hear something they’re concerned about."