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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

Classes at Summit Canceled Following 9/11 Bomb Threat

Police have confirmed that the threat was a hoax, yet concerns for the future remain
Classes+at+Summit+Canceled+Following+9%2F11+Bomb+Threat

On Sunday evening, Summit families received notice that school on the following day, Sep. 11, was canceled in response to a bomb threat directed at students. The threat originated on the instagram account @summitconfessionsnew, a popular anonymous posting source for Summit students. Submissions operate through a google form, which students can fill out without providing any of their personal information.

Most of the account’s posts focus on school-centered gossip, however  , this post took a more serious turn. The threat, which was posted on Saturday evening, claims to have been submitted by a Summit senior and warns students that the perpetrator was “actually f–ing done” and planned to “blow up a large portion of Summit High just in time for the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 at 8:46 am.” 

Soon after posting, the threat was reported to SafeOregon, an anonymous tool for students across the state to submit threats to safety or violent acts. Bend police then promptly took over the case, opening an investigation. Later on Sunday, officials decided that it was safest to cancel school.

“It was super serious from the beginning,” commented Summit’s Student Resource Officer, Daniel Koehnke. “The report was that someone wanted to bomb the school which obviously entails not only property damage but also [physical harm.]”

Situations such as this one are uncommon for Summit. Principal Michael McDonald stated that although he had “been here for a long time,” he “[couldn’t] recall another bomb threat” in the school’s history.

Ensuring the school was safe for students to return to was a comprehensive process: both McDonald and Koehnke spent their Sundays at school, sweeping the school for potential threats.

“I was here for probably three hours, and [Mr. McDonald] was here before me,” Koehnke said. The principal-police team was also joined by a bomb-sniffing dog—the only one in Oregon—that traveled from Salem the night before. Thankfully, the search came back clear, thereby allowing students to return to normal the following day, Tue. Sep. 12.

As for the perpetrator, officials arrested a 17-year-old Summit student on Sunday night. The student will be tried for first-degree disorderly conduct.

“It’s a felony crime to make a bomb threat,” Koehnke said. “The legal aspect of it is going to be handled by the District Attorney’s office.”

“We weren’t gonna call students in after we had said, Sunday night, school’s closed,”

McDonald said, specifying why classes remained canceled despite eliminating the immediate threat. “If we would have learned who the person was earlier on Sunday, we wouldn’t have closed school.” Instead, McDonald stated that school would have likely continued with a heavy police presence to ensure everyone’s safety.

The perpetrator will now be facing disciplinary action from Summit as well. Expulsion is a possibility, and even if the student remains at Summit, it is likely that they will not be allowed to walk at graduation. As they are a minor, their name will not be released to the public. However, McDonald believes that individuals shouldn’t focus on the culprit’s identity; rather, Summit students and community members should remain vigilant to ensure similar issues do not come up in the future.

“A better message is: anybody has the power to do that at any time,” McDonald commented. He urged students to report any worries they might have to teachers or trusted adults. “If you see, if you hear about a threat, if you are concerned about somebody there are all these ways to communicate with people.” 

McDonald continued by warning of dangers that are associated with @summitconfessionsnew and similar accounts. After returning to school on Sep. 12, he released a video statement, which asked that students not participate in or encourage anonymous posting.

“We’ve had situations in the past where students have been targeted and we have tried to figure out who is responsible,” McDonald said, referring to Summit confessions accounts in general. “If you know who’s doing this, please tell them to stop. That’s kind of our only leverage point right now.”

When asked if the moderators of the confessions account would be facing consequences if caught, McDonald responded with a resounding “absolutely.” As of now, the principal does not know their identities, but hopes that following what happened, the account will cease its posting.

In the aftermath of events, students and teachers alike from Summit have been grappling with mixed emotions ranging from frustration and panic to confusion and disappointment. 

“I honestly felt a big mix of fear for my students and also for my child, who goes to Summit,” said Summit English teacher Amanda Holdredge, who was initially taken aback by the news. “I’m in the unique position of being both a teacher and a parent here.”

On top of that, Holdredge shared that she felt a sense of anger towards the whole situation. “Not only was our first full week disrupted,” Holdredge commented, “but the sense of safety in our school community was also disrupted.”

For students dealing with the same concerns, counselors and teachers are available to help. Everyone is encouraged to remain vigilant for similar situations, should they arise, and be cautious of what they post on social media. Together, the Summit community can work towards a safer, smoother year to come.

 

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About the Contributor
Lina McDonald, Opinions Editor

When she isn’t busy catching grammar errors and writing pieces for the Pinnacle, Opinions Editor Lina McDonald can almost certainly be found drinking copious amounts of coffee and wandering around Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe. Otherwise, she spends her free volunteering at Camp Tamarack, rewatching Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time or frosting cakes in her kitchen—all thanks to her trusty stand mixer. Lina always has an open ear for debating important issues–such as which Taylor Swift song is the best for any situation–and promises to hear out any controversial claims before disagreeing. Feel free to contact her with any editing queries or catchy story ideas!

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