CHAMBERSBURG (March 22) — A new program, Safe2Say, is designed to warn Pennsylvania schools of potential threats triggered the shutdown of two local high schools this morning.
The first hint of trouble surfaced at around 10:30 p.m. last night when Chambersburg Area School District staff received a tip from the Safe2Say reporting program.
District staff immediately went into action, looking at all available information, then decided to close Chambersburg Senior High School today.
Although the threat targeted CASHS, staff decided to close the district’s second high school — Chambersburg Magnet School — also.
An online announcement on the district’s website said the CMS decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
Safe2Say, a program designed to prevent tragedies such as the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, is run by the state Attorney General’s office.
“At no time were any students or staff in immediate harm,” the district announcement said.
CASHS Staff initially reported to the District administration offices in the morning to give time for District police to sweep the high school.
After the school was deemed to be safe, CASHS staff entered the building.
The Chambersburg Borough Police, Pennsylvania State Police, and the FBI were immediately notified of the threat and began an investigation.
“At this time, no credible threats have been found by authorities, but the investigation will continue,” school authorities said this afternoon.
All if this evenings activities go on as scheduled.
All district schools are expected to open tomorrow as scheduled.
Any further changes to school schedules will be communicated to parents/guardians via the District all-call system and to the community via the District website and social media channels.
Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation with state-wide deployment of a threat reporting system devised by people whose children were killed by a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
The Safe2Say program became active in January.
It involves a mobile app, website and hotline which can be used to make anonymous reports of students and others showing signs they have the potential to carry out school violence.
Tips to the Safe2Say hotline go to specially-trained agents in his office who analyze them, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.
If agents decide they are credible, both school and police officials are notified.
Local officials then follow through to take steps to protect students, staff and the community.
CASD administrators asked parents/guardians, students, staff and community members to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities immediately to local authorities.
“All threats against students and staff are taken seriously and will be acted upon,” district administrators said. “Our top priority remains the safety and security of our students and staff.”