UPDATED: 12:11 PM
A lock-down at Kittanning Senior High School had parents and students in turmoil this morning.
Shortly before 11 AM, students were moved into the gymnasium and the building was secured, according to unidentified sources and students texting their parents. The students were released shortly before noon to return to classes or their lunch period.
Armstrong School district officials did not respond to requests from parents and media for information, but then issued an automated telephone call to parents stating that the security measure was taken because of a “bomb hoax”. No other details were given.
Local police were on the scene. According to standard operating procedure, the school goes into lock-down mode when a threat is perceived outside the building.
An official at the Armstrong County Jail denied the report that there was an escape of a prisoner, which was rumored as one of the reasons for the lock-down.
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Armstrong School District School Superintendent Stan Chapp was hopeful this week will be the last of the cold and snowy weather that would cancel classes and require additional make-up days.
by Jonathan Weaver
While local students might have enjoyed the past eight unscheduled snow days, they are leaving Armstrong School District officials with a jigsaw puzzle to fix.
According to the original school calendar, April 1, 2, 6 and 7, as well as May 22, were the only days characterized as snow make-up days. Students will have to now attend class on those five days, as well as three more to satisfy State requirements, School Superintendent Stan Chapp said.
“At this time of the school year, we typically bring a calendar to the Board to adjust for accumulated school days – but this winter has not been a normal one, and we were afraid if we brought a new one today that it might not be good for very long,” Chapp said. “It doesn’t look good for (this) morning, either.”
Student Transportation Director Jon Fair said administrators can re-arrange some in-service time to allow for classes.
“What we’re looking at doing is keeping March 27 as an in-service half the day – with students attending in the morning so that day would count and April 2 doing the same thing and then that as the clerical day for teachers,” Fair said.
Substitute Assistant Superintendent James Gaggini explained Elementary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Director Cheryl Soloski hopes to utilize two hours to train teachers after a new reading curriculum was adopted last month.
Chapp said Fair’s idea might also help seniors in the Class of 2015 get on track to graduating as scheduled, but even that is hard to predict. Students might even be scheduled on Saturdays during the remaining three months.
“We’re just not exactly sure where this winter is going to go yet, and we’re even concerned about roads being closed because of flooding. We just don’t know how dangerous those roads are going to be,” Chapp added. “It’s very unusual (but) I think most school districts are in the same boat right now.
“There’s nothing off the table.”
Unless decided by the state legislature, students must complete 180 days of classroom instruction within the school year.
The meeting was led by Board Vice-President Chris Choncek due to President Joseph Close’s absence.