POINT TOWNSHIP — Classes returned to normal on Friday at Priestley Elementary School near Northumberland, one day after a man was arrested for threatening to kill all of the students. The school’s superintendent said a strict lockdown plan was put into place almost immediately.
There are around 3,000 students in the Shikellamy School District. All of them were required to sit against a wall, away from windows and doors after Thursday’s threat. That is part of the district’s lockdown procedure, which was in place for a little more than an hour.
Dozens of parents rushed to Priestley Elementary School near Northumberland on Thursday, after a man threatened to kill the students at the school.
“I was at work and they said my daughter was on the phone. I thought maybe she was sick. She called me to tell me she loved me because they were on lockdown and it wasn’t a drill,” said Jennifer Griner.
Shikellamy School District in Northumberland County was put on lockdown almost immediately. Superintendent Pat Kelley said the safety of the students was the top priority.
“All of the classroom doors were locked. The students were moved away from the windows and doors and they sat against the wall,” Shikellamy School District said Superintendent Pat Kelley.
In light of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut, the Shikellamy School District wanted to review the district’s lockdown procedure with students. They did this at 11 a.m. Thursday. About a half an hour later the lock down procedure went into effect for real.
“We knew that we had to implement our plan to make sure we ensure as much safety as we possibly could,” said Kelley.
Jeremy Church, 37, was arrested for making threats against students at the school. Kelley said attendance at Priestley Elementary School was slightly down one day after the threats were made, but some parents said they had no reservations about sending their kids to school. Kathy Wagner has nieces and nephews at Priestley Elementary. She said the district handled the situation well.
“They were told that Santa and Santa’s elves were working on something really special for today for them. They didn’t allow them to panic or know that there was something traumatic happening,” said Wagner.
The man who is charged with making the threats, Jeremy Church, is in the Northumberland County Prison. He is scheduled to appear in court early next year for his preliminary hearing.