On Friday May 20, it seemed as if the school was deserted, the quietness was eerie and unusual, and the attendance rates were at an all-time low.
According to the attendance office, 1014 students out of 1736 here at Centennial did not come to school, that is a 57% absentee rate. Many parents wanted to keep students safe after a potential shooting threat was posted on the walls in a boys’ bathroom stall, while many students undoubtedly used the threat as a reason to simply not show up.
Security Guards Kevin Christie and Joe Massey both mentioned that CHS does a great job in taking care of student and staff safety.
“I feel like the whole school does a really good job at keeping you guys safe. You can’t tell a parent that it’s a bad idea to not send their kid to school. I see both sides,” said Christie.
“As a parent, would I let my kids stay home? Yeah, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I think that if they [students] would have come, they would have been fine. I don’t think it was a valid threat, and think that them being here was fine. But as a parent, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your kids safe,” said Massey.
Although there might have been a lot of students absent that day, Massey mentioned that it was easier to keep things under control. “I think since there were a lot fewer kids here, it was a lot easier to control any situations that we had,” he said.
After the threat was posted, and many people at Centennial became highly alerted, measures were taken to solidify the threat not being very strong.
“We always check to make sure that the doors are locked on the perimeter around the school, but we checked a lot more on that day. Typically, we leave the back door of the cafeteria open till the beginning of second period for the late start kids, but we locked it right in the beginning of school,” said Christie.
Extra police patrolled the neighborhoods around the school as well. Even though those events occurred because of the message, to make sure that people in Centennial are prepared for sudden events, lock-down drills do happen, yet it is hard to say how people would react during the situation.
However, one thing that was emphasized by both Christie and Massey to ensure school safety is to simply report any unusual or threatening information to an adult. Even if students think that the information they know could be a joke, telling someone could potentially make a big difference.
“If you hear anything, notice something strange, let an adult know or a staff member know. That’s a big help. If kids notice something that’s out of the ordinary, let someone know,” Massey said.
Christie agreed. “I would hope that if people do see or know stuff then they would share it with an adult. There’s this thing we hear a lot with kids saying, ‘I don’t wanna be a snitch,’ but really, there’s a difference between being a snitch and protecting your school and your friends and your classmates.”