A High School Senior’s Reflections On Decatur’s Threat

A High School Senior’s Reflections On Decatur’s Threat
A High

(Editor’s Note: Since September, the writer, a senior at Stephen Decatur High School, has been serving as an intern with this newspaper. We asked her to offer her insights on what transpired on Wednesday at her high school.)

Rebecca Evans

Special To The Dispatch

BERLIN — The day was proceeding like a typical Wednesday. A third of the way through second period, the normalcy was disrupted by an announcement from the principal. Mr. Zimmer sounded resigned and a little exasperated as he informed the student body that Stephen Decatur’s number had come up; the school had just received a bomb threat and we were to evacuate.

Oddly, I did not feel surprised. The previous day, a similar, unfounded threat had been called in at OCES. Via the intercom, Mr. Zimmer expressed his doubt of the bomb threat’s realness, but the administration always errs on the side of caution.

I sat at my laptop in newspaper class, listening to the announcement end with instructions on how to orderly exit the building. It was 9 a.m. when I shrugged on my coat and scarf, which I had thankfully brought to class with me. I was one of the few who had a coat and our rapid departure kept anyone from breaking away to go grab theirs. My class combined with the others flooding the hallways. No one seemed concerned about the possible bomb.

The mass of students exited the school through side doors. We started trekking past the football stadium towards our neighbor and apparent safe house, Stephen Decatur Middle.

The wind was the worst of it. I had my coat zipped all the way up, hood pulled tight around my head to avoid wind so cold it hurt. I lent my scarf to my poor friend who did not have her coat.

As we made our way toward the middle school, everyone, teachers included, speculated on what had happened. I assumed that both OCES’s and our bomb threats were the work of the same perpetrator. I was not scared so much as annoyed and paranoid. A lot of people wondered if concentrating two student bodies into one school was the wisest move if someone wanted to detonate a bomb.

We got across the field; people huddled in on themselves against the cold. Students loitered outside trying to find some respite from the bitter wind. Eventually, the crowd pushed into the gym and cafeteria.

Once inside, all we could do was sit and wait for the okay to go back. I texted my parents about the bomb threat, and Worcester County Public Schools sent out an alert. From then on, there was a steady stream of parents swooping in to rescue their kids. Every 10 minutes or so, a teacher or administrator would read off another list of students whose parents had cleared them to go home.

There were rumors circulating that the technical school had received a bomb threat, too, and that if enough people left, school would be dismissed for the rest of the day.

I stood with my friends and teacher in the cafeteria and waited for the all-clear. The go ahead to return back to school was given an hour and a half later, but by then the populations of both the gym and cafeteria had dwindled significantly with so many students having been picked up.

The remaining students faced the cold again on the return to the high school where we would continue on with our regularly scheduled classes and put the bomb scare behind us.