UPDATE To Incident at Hempfield High School on 4/12/16
On April 20th, 2016 following an investigation and consulting with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office a 17 year old male student at Hempfield High School was cited with Disorderly Conduct-summary, stemming from a weapons threat. The male is a junior at Hempfield High School. His name cannot be released because, under Pennsylvania law, he is considered to be a juvenile.
On April 12, 2016 East Hempfield Township Police were dispatched to Hempfield High School, 200 Stanley Ave. Landisville, PA after school officials received a report of a possible threat involving weapons. Officers learned that a student reported seeing social media (KIK) messages from another student who referenced a shooting. This message was seen in the morning and conveyed to school officials after lunch. The student who received the social media message then verbalized to others the possibility of a shooting. The student was identified and isolated. He indicated that this was a joke and he believed that everyone knew that it was a joke.
Regardless of the assertion of it being a joke, the Hempfield School District and the East Hempfield Township Police take every threat seriously. A lock down was instituted by the school to maintain safety for students while allowing police and school officials to thoroughly determine the validity of the threat and search for weapons.
Through the investigation NO weapons were located. At no time were any students or staff in danger, and it was ultimately determined that no real threat existed. The student’s comments created unrest in the school and community which required precautionary measures to be taken by the police and school district.
The Police Department will take every step possible to protect the students at schools located within our jurisdiction. We encourage parents to talk to their children about the incident so that it can serve as an example of topics that should not be taken lightly. Humor or intent cannot be determined in a written text message, therefore such comments must be interpreted in a literal context. Joking or making light of serious issues like school violence are inappropriate and cannot be tolerated. We also encourage parents to talk to their children about the importance of reporting things right away.
We applaud the students that have come forward in this incident and others. Their concern is real, whether the intent by the suspects is real or not. We want the dialogue and reporting to continue and we will continue to remain vigilant in protecting our students and faculty.