West Reacts After A Threat To The School

by: Zoe Stack

All Wauwatosa West High School students were ushered into the gym this morning while an investigation of the building was being held due to a threat the school had received earlier that morning.


Wednesday, March 9th, Wauwatosa West received what Principal Frank Calarco called in a statement sent out to parents via email, a “nonspecific threat.” Teachers were called down to the office and then each grade level was called down to the gym, where they stayed for about an hour and fifteen minutes before being released back to class.  

“Part of me is thinking that this isn’t serious and that somebody was just making a dumb phone call, and that we are just going to get out of here in the next twenty minutes and that nothing is going to happen. But then part of me, I think everybody is feeling this way, but they are concerned that something is actually happening, because nobody knows what’s going on,” said senior Kenna Gallegos-Roll.


Throughout much of the time spent in the gym students and staff did not know what was going on, and that was one of the main reasons students were uneasy.


“I wish that we knew what was going on, because then it would kind of like make it so like we would know if it was real or not, and it would either like, i don’t know if it would cause like commotion or if it would make people like more calm knowing what was going on,” said senior Katy Shotts. She went out to say,  “I feel like they want to know what’s going on too, and i feel like it’s kind of our right to know what’s going on, and i feel like a lot of people are like, they’re freaked out but they don’t want to like say anything you know?”


Some students were quite worried during the entire situation.


“In the gym I was like, someone is going to come in here any minute and I was thinking like, oh my gosh, like something could happen like we’re all fine and stuff right now and everyone thinks their safe and I’m just thinking like, what if someone just like comes in through like one of the doors or the whole school just boom, just blows up or someone comes in shooting, I was just really worried about that, that something was going to happen while everybody was off guard,” said junior Adriana Hamilton.


However, not all students thought that this threat was anything to worry about.  


“We had like three my freshman year, and nothing came of it, what’s going to come of this one, you know?  It’s just some kid who wants an excuse to skip out on school,” said senior Katie Dickey.  


As Calarco stated in his message to parents, administration felt that, “at this time, we have no indication that this is a credible threat.” However, they still had to follow certain protocol.


“I know this morning we got into the situation where you don’t really know what’s going on. Some of you are probably stressed some of you are afraid, probably have a lot of questions, but you all know here at Wauwatosa West High School, Wauwatosa Police Department, Wauwatosa School district, we do take your safety, safety is very important, so we take that very seriously,” said Officer Farris Griffin.


Overall people feel the situation was handled well and that students did a good job acting in an appropriate manner. In several emails that were sent out to parents and students, Calarco stated how he was proud of being the West principal.  


“I think that went pretty smoothly to tell you the truth. I think the students did a really good job … There was no running or panic or anything like that, they were just kind of concerned…,” said math teacher, Jeanine Berggruen.


Students were released back to their classrooms and school is scheduled to be in session tomorrow. However, should there be any further threats students would be evacuated again, potentially to Eisenhower, the building checked, and then brought back to the school.


So, moving forward, lets hope for the best, we’ll plan for the worst, but hope for the best …,” said Calarco.


Teachers were annoyed with the disruption to the day and hope it doesn’t happen again.


“I don’t think, whoever did it, whether it was a student or somebody outside the building, realizes the gravity of the situation and you know like, officer griffin said, you know, it’s it’s frightening and there’s a lot of confusion and I don’t think they realize either that if it were truly a credible threat, that a lot of people would be in danger and that’s a serious thing, and you don’t want to be crying wolf in situations like that,” said Berggruen.


“It’s a huge disruption in our day and if you consider, some joker that made this call was worried about himself or herself and it you know it’s a lot bigger than that. This is a whole school, with staff and hundreds and hundreds of students, and um it’s unfortunate that the idiocy of a person can affect us like this, but it does, but we do the best we can, it is what it is, and but boy what a huge disruption,” said theater director and teacher Adam Steffan.


It wasn’t just teachers who did not think highly of what happened, but students also were also unhappy with the situation.


“It wasn’t cool whatever point you were trying to make, whatever you were trying to do, it’s not going to matter 10 years from now, you know you’re just going to look back and think it was really stupid of you to do something like that and you wouldn’t want anyone harming or getting your family worried, and so why would you do it to a family member or to someone’s child or to someone’s brother or someone’s sister,” said Hamilton.


Whoever made the threat to the school is facing, 10,000 dollars in fines, a two year suspension of their driver’s license, and if the person is over 17, potential jail time for committing what is described as a felony. Their family is also facing 20,000 dollars in restitution.


A 1000 dollar cash prize, along with a new iPad is being offered as a reward to anyone who can come forward with any information concerning the threat issued to the school.


“Because of somebody’s idiocy this morning, we had a lot of police, the sheriff as well, they’re here investigating nonsense when they’re really needed other places, so think about that. Any help that you can find helping us out find out who did this, a thousand dollar reward and an iPad, that’s not too shallow,” said Calarco.