By Cassidy Peterson
Staff writer

Confused, scared, worried, uneasy, nervous. Those are just a few words to describe how students felt on Feb. 12 when a shelter in place was issued after Hutchinson Community College had been notified of a bomb threat. 

“I was concerned when I first got the news, and that we were kind of left in the dark about the situation. It was also unsettling that we never got a notification about it until after the lockdown had ended,” said Amanda Higginbotham, a HutchCC freshman.

Clayton Shingleton, another HutchCC freshman, described how Feb. 12 went for him. He got to HutchCC at 10:05 a.m. and was headed to class when a friend told him that there was a bomb threat. Shingleton decided to go to class anyway, and Smith Science Center was unlocked so he went in. 

Shingleton said he did not know if he thought the threat was real or fake, considering the Super Bowl, was the day before. Either way, he went to class, and had a lecture as usual.

Debbie Graber, Coordinator of Counseling and Social Work Services, said students have a general overall fear of bombings or shootings as everyone hears of school violence seemingly daily, but most HutchCC students do not feel like they are under a great amount of threat in Hutchinson compared to if they were in larger cities. 

This recent threat was eye opening for students and faculty, and causing anxiety.

“We need to be more aware of what is going on around us and how we approach our personal safety,” Graber said. “And that awareness is key, just paying attention. People are on autopilot a lot of times.”

Events like this make students realize that they are not invincible and they need to consider their personal safety more often.

“… We are all human, none of us are infallible … “ Graber said.

Graber has found a positive outlook in the situation, saying that now the school knows what needs to be improved and will be better prepared if anything comes up in the future. 

She went on to say that the crisis committee is meeting next week to discuss improvements, and that text notifications have been tested in the past week.

The feelings of fear, concern and anxiety are totally normal, Graber said. 

Higginbotham said the lack of communication was most bothersome.

“My main concern is the lack of communication from the college to the students,” Higginbotham said. “I understand it may have taken some time, but in some situations, would it have been too late?”

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