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Parents voice safety concerns at Sahuaro High School meeting

Posted at 10:19 PM, Nov 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-17 00:19:45-05

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The highly anticipated parent meeting at Sahuaro High School took place in the auditorium, following recent threats made on social media.

The topics discussed left some parents at ease, and others more worried than ever.

Though it was a slow start to the meeting, once one parent addressed their concerns, others followed suit.

Pretty soon, it turned into an auditorium full of heightened emotions.

Principal Roberto Estrella began by acknowledging the threats made on social media.

He said the police department is always called in when there is a reported threat.

An investigation follows.

However, what happens to the students who posted the threat?

Allison Pfeiffer, a parent whose son goes to Sahuaro says the instigators need to be held responsible.

“You can’t post on social media that you heard something when you never did hear something about a school shooting or it’s gonna happen. Or we’re gonna kill people. Or we’re going to blow up the school. You can’t post that stuff and not have repercussions,” she told KGUN9.

When Pfeiffer addressed this in the meeting, Principal Estrella did not give a clear answer on how consequences would be handled. He said it is very difficult to find the person(s) who initially posted the threat. Most posts are usually those of students say the "heard of" a threat.

“We need to step in, enough is enough. The level of threats--between bomb threats, gun threats, fires, all within one week was far too much for kids to handle,” Pfeiffer added.

Principal Estrella assured parents the Tucson Police Department responded to the social media threats. The students were even put on a soft lockdown.

The fire department also responded to a fire that broke out inside a trash can.

Amounting to a series of events that have left students like Gianni Martinez on edge.

“A lot of us have been shaken up, and worried and scared, and I wanted to come here to let them know that everything is going to be okay. Because there are solutions to problems,” Martinez told KGUN9.

Among those solutions, her idea of having a trusted student committee who can help inform their peers when there is a potential threat.

Martinez is a part of the school newspaper. She believes that the newspaper staff can also collaborate with the administration to responsibly spread important information to their peers.

“I’m going to make sure I sit down with whoever I need to, to get my point across because this cannot continue to go on. It’s limiting students from their school work,” Martinez added.

Although some parents were not in agreement with what Principal Estella was proposing, they all agreed on one thing: keeping their children safe is a team effort between the parents, the students, and the administration.

“My son is proud to go here. We have the greatest potential. So I just hope and pray that we can have better parent involvement and work more closely with the school,” said Pfeiffer.

The take away from the meeting is that parents want to be better informed about what is going on in the school, and want to see proactive steps being taken to ensure the people behind these threats face the appropriate consequences.

It is unclear whether the school will host a similar meeting to update parents on future strategies that will be created to ensure student safety.