As if history repeats itself, there has been yet another threat of violence aimed towards Newton High School, in the form of a written note left in a classroom late in the morning of Feb. 21, 2019.
Resource Officer Brian Salsmans was responsible for conducting an investigation into who exactly left the note, and what may have sparked it. The author of this anonymous note came to light as a result of this investigation, and is currently in juvenile detention.
“Officer Salmans took it very seriously, obviously the county attorney took it very seriously,” principal Lisa Moore said. “This is a student, who I won’t name, who got arrested for aggravated felony. I’m hoping on the school-wide searches we have 1,000 searches for ‘what is aggravated felony.’ Because this is serious, this student, this changes his life forever, at 15 years old.”
As Newton High School has encountered an increase number of threats, students, parents, guardians and community members have growing concerns as to why school has yet to be evacuated, and in some cases notified as a result of threats.
“There was no immediate threat, so we did not evacuate the building. But we do recognize there is never a ‘boy who cried wolf’ situation with something like this, every situation is serious. Every time no matter how many times we get threatened,” Moore said.
Roughly 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2019, one day after the threat was made, and the student who made the threat had been detained, Moore gave an announcement over the school intercom regarding the situation as well as giving some details as to what happened. Nearing the end of her announcement, Moore refers to one of the three pillars of success at NHS: resilience.
“It’s important for you to be resilient. If you are having difficulty with being resilient, you have many people who are willing to help you, or to listen to you. These people are your counselors, your teachers, your administrators, the ladies in the lunchroom, the custodians in the halls, your coaches, club sponsors, your parents, secretaries, people at work,” Moore said. “While you come to Newton High School every day to learn, you are learning more than just academics. You are learning how to cope with life.”
Moore made sure to stress resilience because she believes the threats received at NHS, and other schools are failures in students’ ability to be persevere.
“Students have an idea of what it means to persevere through difficulty. They understand even when they got knocked down they know how to bounce back. But not all kids know what it means to be resilient, sometimes kids have those emotions, and they don’t know to react other than get back at people, or say things that they don’t really mean.” Moore said “Although we do stress responsibility and respect, we also want to make sure kids are resilient. That part is so important, we live in a time of a lot of trauma, how do we persevere through difficulty,” Moore said. “Whether that difficulty is somebody told you not do something, or maybe your significant other broke up with you, or somebody calls you names, or whatever: you gotta find a way to be resilient, that’s a lifelong skill you have to have.”
The NHS administration will not release the name of the student responsible for the threat.