by Paige Asberry
Staff Writer

Students see the news, see the school shootings, the bomb threats, and think, we’re safe here, it’s a small town. There’s no way that will happen at my school.

Until it does.

Until they’re shaking, confused, huddled into a classroom with 30 other students who are all unsure of what’s happening. All they can see are police cars, big men with guns, and dogs sweeping the campus they thought they were safe on.

Monday morning at Hutchinson Community College, an anonymous bomb threat was reported at the school during morning classes. The first alerts were received by faculty and students at 9:58 a.m.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” said Hutchinson sophomore Joy Bartlett. “I had to sneak into Lockman Hall, and then I heard what was going on. I was a little nervous at first but I was able to keep calm.”

Confusion seemed to trend, as anonymous student wrote on Snapchat, “The teachers nor the students realized we were on lockdown until we started seeing things on Snapchat, and my first reaction was ‘Oh s***, I’m not going to finish my crochet.’”

California sophomore Lauryn Hines also had no idea what was going on.

“I got there (Lockman) around 10 a.m., and noticed the police cars but didn’t think anything of it,” Hines said. “I tried to open the doors to Lockman, but they were both locked and I had to wait for someone on the inside to let me in. Once I finally got in, I went upstairs and headed to the bathroom, but a professor stopped me and urged me and others to get into a class and clear out of the halls, which I definitely thought was weird. When I finally made it into the class, I was told there was a bomb threat.”

Hines expressed shock at the fact that students were told to shelter in place, and said “I definitely thought it was BS.”

Bartlett agreed

“I didn’t understand why they kept us in the buildings and locked us in the classrooms,” Bartlett said. “We didn’t end up even having a class. At some point, my professor told us that there were dogs and police officers outside the door searching the building, which definitely made me more fucking anxious. I spent five minutes doodling on the board to calm myself down.”

To add to the confusion of what happened on Monday, the emergency alert systems were not always received in a timely fashion, or reliable for many of the students and faculty.

“I didn’t get the text alert about the bomb until after we were cleared, and I didn’t get the clearance text until after my last class was finished for the day,” said Bartlett.

The situation was the same for Hines, who said that her alerts came over an hour after she got home.

“I felt unsure,” said HutchCC sociology professor Kim Newberry. “Text messages came in late, students didn’t even get messages, and none of us really knew what was going on. I think it’s time to revisit our plans.”

Cafeteria employee Janell Talbot has been employed at Hutchinson Community College since 2004, and has experienced bomb threats three other times in her time here.

“This time,” Talbot said, “it was more intense because the cops were surrounding the parking lot and the buildings, and they had dogs out looking for backpacks or anything that looked out of place. The other times it was just a call-in threat where they found out who the person was right away, and this time I don’t think they really figured out who it was.”

American students are, unfortunately, used to this kind of situation. As one anonymous student noted, “It’s kind of sad how Americans are numb to the fact of shootings and bombings. My friends and I literally just accepted the fact that we might get blown up, and then we joked about it.”

This situation will have aftershocks.

“I didn’t feel safe going back to class at all, the day after it was still definitely heavy on my mind during class,” Hines said. “I know they gave the all clear, but still, that shit’s scary.”

Sam Ojeda contributed to this report

Visits: 1120

Share this story:

One thought on “Students and staff react to Monday’s bomb threat

  1. Louanne Steele says:

    Good job on the article, Paige. I’m so sorry you and others had to experience that. The world is a scary place. Place your faith in your Protector.

Comments are closed.