An Open Letter To Those Who Would Disrupt The School Day

News Editor Josie Moriarty calls for an end to the nonsensical threats that have tried to disrupt the HHS school day.


Holyoke High School has always had an unfair reputation with people from surrounding cities. It feels like we are constantly trying to prove these negative stereotypes wrong. Oftentimes, we are successful in doing so. For example, every year we have a school musical that gets the whole community out, we have had many students get accepted to very prestigious colleges, and we even have some student athletes that are well known around Western Massachusetts for being so talented at their sports. However, it can be hard to defend your city and school when word gets around that you have had three separate  threats over the course of a year.

It’s important to note that Holyoke High is far from the only school dealing with this issue – East Longmeadow High School dealt with a threat recently, and the Massachusetts State Police report getting calls about non-specific threats daily from all over the state. Still, in a community that seems to have to constantly prove it’s better than its perceived, these types of incidents hit hard.

The first  threat Holyoke High received was last December, right before we left for Christmas break. Our staff took the note seriously and evacuated the building immediately, making sure that every student was safe from any potential harm.

Three weeks ago, there were two threats within the course of a week. We were told to shelter in place.

Threats like this have to be taken seriously, especially considering all the incidents of terrorism and violence in our country over the past few years. Thankfully, none of the threats Holyoke High has received have been real; however, they still negatively impact our community and image.

False bomb threats take time away from the classroom. With students being evacuated from school and forced to stay in one class for extended periods of time, important class time is lost. For some students less classroom time is desirable; however, most students actually want to learn and rely on the time they have in class with their teachers, so when that is getting interrupted by fake threats, those dedicated students have to suffer.

Less time in the classroom is especially detrimental to AP students and teachers. Advance Placement classes have a test towards the beginning of May and all the material is supposed to be mastered by that point. All the snow days and holidays we already have takes time away from preparing for the test. Added disturbances like threats only make it harder to be prepared on time.

Something many people forget about when these incidents occur is that it wastes time for police officers and firemen. When these situations occur, both police and firemen have to be made aware and report to the scene. It is unfair to them that they have to waste their time on a false bomb threat instead being able to help someone who may actually need it.

The most important issue with making a false threat is that it is scary. Although no student has ever been in any danger, it is still scary and unsettling to sit in your classroom knowing that someone has threatened your school with a bomb. I personally felt a bit uneasy about the situation. Two weeks ago when we were told to shelter in place because of a threat the school received, I remember sitting in my math class with friends saying “I know the threat isn’t real, but what if it is?”

Unfortunately, we live in a world where unspeakable acts of violence occur everyday all over in places like schools, churches, movie theaters, etc. It feels like no matter where you go you aren’t completely safe. With that in mind, it is absurd to me that someone would write a threat like that, knowing it is false. Bomb threats are no joke, and neither is playing on people’s fears, which you inadvertently are doing by writing the threat.

Holyoke High School is very lucky to have a staff that is so quick to take care of these situations and protect the student body. However, it is unfortunate that our staff should ever have to worry about such problems. Threats of any kind are unacceptable and lead to further misrepresentations of what Holyoke is like as a whole.