Last week’s bogus bomb threat at the Arcadia High School by a 14 year-old student who was subsequently quickly arrested but only after nearly 4,000 students and personnel were stuck on lock-down mode for several hours, had an impact well beyond the obvious and even beyond the school.
Thousands of dollars worth of hot lunches were wasted when students were unable to take a lunch break and buy the lunches that had already been prepared, according to David Vannasdall, Deputy Superintendent, Educational Services and Programs.
Additional revenue was lost when all school activities in the afternoon and evening had to be canceled, including scheduled field rentals by Little League and AYSO groups. The AHS marching band was also forced to miss a valuable once-per-week practice.
Overtime had to be paid to maintenance workers to empty, clean and re-set portable toilets used during the lock-down. Vannasdall noted that the makeshift buckets with a garbage bag lining, a lid and a privacy curtain were designed by a student for his Boy Scout for his Eagle badge project last year after an even more lengthy lock-down exposed a need for emergency portable toilets.
In addition to the stress and inconvenience for teachers, students, and parents, staff employees, some of whom have children in other schools in town, were unable to leave to pick up their kids.
Off school property, Santa Anita Park officials were contacted by police and needed to juggle paying clients so police could use a portion of the race track parking lot as a staging area.
Campus Blvd had to blocked off by police for three hours.
All because of an electronically-sent false threat of an explosive device by a 14-year-old who likely didn’t realize the disruptions and financial costs the threat would cause to thousands of people. Most likely the student’s parents were also unaware.
– By Scott Hettrick