The local school discusses the protocol for shooting threats at the school

HASTINGS, Neb. (Nebraska) — In the wake of the threatened Thayer Central school shooting, other schools are now considering how to handle the situation.

At Hastings Public Schools, they have a threat assessment team that gets notified when a threat is made to any of the schools.

The team then works closely with law enforcement agencies to evaluate threats and determine whether they are credible. HPS relies heavily on HPD in these situations because it takes certain steps to identify the threat.

“I would take this information and turn it over to our school resource manager,” said Hastings High School principal Jeff Linden. “The school resource officer will go ahead and conduct the investigation, and then we’ll bring people in, interview them, do what they need to do, and determine the severity of the threat.”

Linden said connecting with parents and guardians is part of the process, but they need to be delicate when doing so.

“When you think about how you communicate with parents in these kinds of situations, you have to try to understand what the situation is,” Linden said. “If it’s something we need to communicate to the public and parents, we do it.”

He said that in the event of a threatened shooting at the school, HPS understands the concerns of parents and guardians, but they cannot risk obstructing law enforcement investigations. In such situations, parents and guardians will be notified of the matter, but all the information they want may not be available to them.

“We’ll get the information out, the information they need,” Linden said. “We have to be very careful what this information contains because when you have an ongoing investigation, you don’t want to stop the police department from doing their job.”

Linden added that Hastings High School has used the current process a few times but quickly fixed the problem. HPS Superintendent Jeff Schneider said such matters are a case-by-case situation.

“There isn’t a definitive answer for every situation because every situation is unique,” Schneider said. “Each of them is a little different. Timing could make all the difference in the world. Do you find out at nine in the evening? It’s different than if you find out at nine in the morning.

Schneider said situations like a threatened school shooting not only affect them as staff members but also as members of the community.

“As school officials, we all live in the communities where we work,” Schneider said. “These are in many cases our children who attend these schools. We are certainly friends with many of the staff or with many of our students’ parents. If we felt it wasn’t safe, we wouldn’t be open.

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