False alarm: Reports of possible violence trigger quick reaction at Highland Middle School

Highland Central School District Superintendent Deborah Haab.

Town of Lloyd Police were called to Highland Middle School on Wednesday, May 17 after administrators were informed by students that concerning comments had been made through social media the night prior and earlier that morning suggesting violence might occur that day at school.

According to schools Superintendent Deborah Haab, middle school principal Daniel Wetzel was informed by students on Wednesday morning that text messages and social media posts by other students had warned them to stay home from school because there might be violence. “When the principal was shown the messages, he was able to connect them to a situation that had been handled [Tuesday] and was confident he knew what he was dealing with,” she said. “As a precaution, the students involved in the situation were met at their buses and escorted into the office, where they were immediately isolated from the student population. The police were notified at approximately 7:40 a.m. and asked to assist with the investigation. Their possessions and lockers were searched, and nothing was found.”

After speaking with the students, Haab added, “the administration and school mental health professional felt certain that there was no reason for alarm. Specifics about this exchange are not appropriate to share.”

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Every report of this nature is always taken seriously and investigated, she said. “This is another reason why it is so important for students to be forthcoming with any concerns. While these instances can be the result of a misunderstanding, it is always best to make authorities aware of your concerns and let those who are trained and experienced address them.”

Student safety is at the core of all decisions made by school administration, Haab said. “We undergo training, have procedures, and are always revisiting situations to determine how our responses can improve. Our challenge remains addressing immediate reactions communicated via social media and text messages before accurate details are available to be shared. We understand the worry created when information begins circulating about any potential threats to our children. We are committed to sharing information with parents as quickly as possible.”

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