Social media post shows weapon aimed at students at Penn High School gym

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(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

Penn High School officials are working with St. Joseph County Police regarding a disturbing photo spotted on social media.

It was a Penn parent who came across the post which appeared to be an image of a weapon pointed at students in Penn’s auxiliary gym, along with a racist comment.

Through the investigation, they determined the weapon wasn’t real, but rather, a graphic of a weapon placed over the gym photo.

Authorities also discovered the origin of the post and students who shared the post.

They say the incident also involved a Discovery Middle School student.

School leaders say they are confident that at no time were Penn or Discovery students or staff ever in danger.

Below is the full letter issued to parents regarding the incident:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

We were notified this morning by a Penn parent of an alarming social media post which included a racist comment along with a photo of what appeared to be a weapon pointed at students inside Penn’s Auxiliary Gym. After a thorough investigation, it was determined the threat was not credible. We were able to quickly determine the origins of the post, including other students who initially saw or shared the post. The threat assessment determined that the weapon in the photo was not an actual weapon, but instead a graphic overlay that was placed over the image of Penn High School.

P-H-M takes these matters very seriously, responding immediately with the appropriate action. Penn High School worked directly with Director of Safety Mike Seger and School Resource Officer Reppert sharing the social media post with St. Joseph County Cyber Crime Unit of the County Prosecutor’s Office.

Through the threat assessment, it was discovered that the post also involved a Discovery Middle School student. We are confident in the findings of the investigation and that at no time were Penn or Discovery students or staff ever in danger.

The safety of your child is a top priority for Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation. This incident is a violation of P-H-M’s Middle and High School Student Handbooks; the students involved will be disciplined. This is a good reminder for all of our parents and students that they must review the 2018-2019 Student Handbooks online at www.phmschools.org/handbooks and return a signed Handbook Certification Form acknowledging that they agree to support and abide by the rules, guidelines, procedures, and policies of the P-H-M School Corporation.

This incident was brought to our attention by an alert and concerned parent. Parent involvement is a critical part of P-H-M’s Triangle of Success. We want parents and students to report any unsafe behavior or situation … see something, say something!

Any of our principals and school administrators can be contacted directly with safety concerns. P-H-M also utilizes the Safe School Helpline® as a confidential way to report student concerns about look-alike or real weapons, bullying, or anything else that threatens the safety of our schools. It is available 24/7 via phone, text or online:

Safe School Helpline®
Call: 1-800-418-6423, ext. 359
Text: TIPS to 66746
Online: SafeSchoolHelpline.com

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at (574) 258-9500 or sgailher@phm.k12.in.us.

Respectfully yours,
Sean Galiher, Principal
Penn High School

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