PAHS: Rumors of threat related to 'surprise' were fabricated

Staff Writer

Punxsutawney Area High School Principal Jeff Long released a statement addressing rumors of threats against the school on Tuesday, saying no threat had ever been made and there was no substance to the rumors.
"The rumor being circulated is that a student at PAHS has made statements about having a 'surprise' for all of the students on the last day of school," he said. "It has since morphed into rumors of a threat to 'shoot up the school on the last day.' However, the facts of the case differ significantly. When the administration began investigating this report three weeks ago, we quickly found that a threat against the population of the school never happened. We instead found that it was a more specific statement made to one student and meant for him, not other students. Further, the link between a 'surprise' and a violent outburst came from student embellishment of the story and not from the factual statement that was made. Students and parents have taken this misquoted statement, and much like a game of telephone, have morphed it into a specific threat against the students of the high school. This is not the case.
"Police have also been involved in the initial investigation and have found no actionable threat toward the school or other unlawful behavior in this case. Despite the fact that there seems to be no viable threat to the students of Punxsutawney, the administration has been working with the Punxsutawney Borough Police to ensure the safety of students throughout the end of the school year. Police will be present at PAHS during the morning student entry times and at the graduation ceremony this Friday, June 1.
"On behalf of the administrators and teachers of the Punxsutawney Area School District, we continue to place the safety and security of your students as our highest priority. As always, if you hear of a threat to the school, we want to be informed so that we can act to ensure safety. However, we also wish to diminish fears when they are unwarranted, as seems to be the case in this situation."
Anyone with questions or concerns was invited to contact the high school office.