North Responds to School Shooting Threat


Grace Beecher

As a safety precaution Tiger Drive was the only entrance open to students amid shooting threats, December 17, 2021.

North implemented safety measures, including an increased police presence, amid school shooting threats circulating on social media Friday, December 17.

A national Tik Tok trend surfaced earlier this week naming December 17 as “National School Shooting Day.” Seemingly as a result of this trend, an anonymous user posted a threat specific to North, which surfaced on Snapchat. The post consisted of a picture of a handgun with a caption naming North. Despite the threat, the school day proceeded without incident.

In an email to Newton North families Friday morning, principal Henry Turner detailed the safety precautions that the school was undertaking. “The district and the Newton Police Department (NPD) are working closely with police across the region to document and assess these specific situations. NPD is aware that this image/post is similar to those circulating in other communities and is likely tied to the TikTok post that Superintendent Fleishman wrote to you about yesterday,” he said, adding “Of course, these situations cause extraordinary stress and anxiety for our students, staff, and families. We are taking all precautions and measures to keep our school community safe.”

The main entrance near Tiger Drive was the only open entrance for the day. Newton Police patrolled the buildings and surrounding neighborhoods, according to Turner’s email.

In an email warning parents about the “National School Shooting Day” trend, Superintendent David Fleishman said, “We take any threat to school safety extraordinarily seriously and investigate the situation regardless of the source. Even if the threats are deemed not credible, they cause a significant amount of stress for our students and staff.”

The threat interrupted classes with some teachers using class time to address the threat.

“I checked in with my first class today and asked how they were feeling, and it seemed like there was quite a bit of nervousness and anxiety around what’s happening,” said P.E. teacher Jenna Lashley. “I think that students and teachers alike were in a place that was a little bit more challenging to focus on.”

Some students and families chose not to come to school out of concern for their safety.

“I was really close to not coming to school, my mom did not want me to come at all,” said freshman Noa Layani. “I came because I felt safer after knowing there was going to be staff and police presence.”

For students that chose to come in, many still felt unsafe.

“If I were to rate how safe I feel on a scale of 1-10, on a normal day I feel like a 7 or 8, and today I’d say maybe a 5 or 6,” said freshman Meera Parekh.

Some students felt the administration didn’t take the threat seriously enough.

“If people are actually concerned then I don’t believe we should’ve actually had school today. But I think that we are all here, and the school is not really taking it seriously,” said freshman Alex Youman.

However, Spanish teacher Daniel Fabrizio said that the administration’s response was effective.

“I am not concerned at all with how our administration is handling it,” he said. “They’ve taken the threat seriously, even though there’s very little chance that something will actually happen here. They’ve increased the police presence. They’ve been talking to law enforcement, and communicating with families,” he added.