Bomb threat response causes concern

Evacuation to the football field is necessary part of plan but tricky to execute quickly due to the size of the entry points



Students wait to be released after a student called in a bomb threat to the school in August. While it turned out to be a false alarm, many students complained that the evacuation to the football field did not work

Chris Alexander, staff writer

On August 26, Cactus Shadows received a phone call about an explosive device on campus. While the school followed law enforcement-approved procedures, the time it took between when school was first put into lockdown and the announcement that told the students to move to the football field caused many students to feel the school was unprepared.
“It was very scary and we didn’t know what was going on, we seemed unprepared,” said Mika Jones, a junior.
After the event transpired, administration did take note and began a plan for future incidents that might occur.
“We were prepared,” said Sarah Barela, principal. “We followed the evacuation plan we had in place and worked with the district and police department.”
Barela pointed out that the football field is a struggle to evacuate to because of the distance from the school, which may account for why students felt it took a long time. However, it is necessary for us to travel that far to be sure everyone is safe.
“We’re trying to fix the evacuation plan because that’s a very small gate to fit lots of kids through. We’re actually talking about bringing in Scottsdale police, the Sheriff’s office, and Phoenix Police so if there was a major incident on campus we would have all three agencies respond,” said Barela.
After the threats were proven to be false, the FBI released a statement saying that making a false threats is a federal offense.
“Hoax threats disrupt school, waste limited law enforcement resources, and put first responders in unnecessary danger. We also don’t want to see a young person start out adulthood with a felony record over an impulsive social media post,” said David Bowdich, deputy director of the FBI.
Cactus Shadows was not the only school put in this situation this year. Other schools in Arizona have been experiencing similar phenomenons. Mesa, Estrella, Canyon View, and Red Mountain high schools were all threatened with explosive devices.
There is no evidence showing a link between the events, however, all of the schools had to go on modified lockdown/evacuation.