Wichita school district addresses concerns expressed over response to North High swatting call

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – An email to News 12 from a Wichita North High School student expresses concerns and frustrations in the response and aftermath of a swatting call at the school two weeks ago. It has us reaching out to the district to learn what steps have been taken in the two weeks since.

The Sept. 15 hoax calls into 911, reporting a school shooting at Wichita North, led to a rapid response and likely, ultimately, a lasting impact.

Wichita Public Schools Secondary Schools Executive Director Brandon Johnson said the district is using a new restorative approach to understand the concerns and experiences of students.

“If they did participate, hopefully, it was of use to them. I’m sure some people left maybe confused cause it’s a new thing, a new process that we’re doing, and we’re definitely going to try to get better, but we hope that the ones who did find benefit from it are able to heal,” said Johnson.

Thursday at North High School, teachers were given a script to read, and students were instructed to write down their thoughts and then have a discussion. This was done a week earlier for teachers and staff.

“Share how they felt while that scary incident was going on and also just be heard by district officials, and hear plans and adjustments,” United Teachers of Wichita President Katherine Warren said.

UTW had also reached out to teachers at North High after to check, and at their next meetings will include a security briefing from the district.

“I’m so proud of our teachers, hearing how calm and collected they stayed during the event and kept their students calm and safe,” said Warren.

Johnson said the Wichita school district had held multiple debriefings with the Wichita Police Department, 911 and other agencies to learn from the Sept. 15 incident at Wichita North. He said debriefs have led to a more defined security process, so should something like this happen again at the school, there’s more clarity on whose job it is to do what.

“(We) created an entire system of who is responsible for every single door, phone call, messaging, from principal down to AP,” Johnson said.

He also explained that there wasn’t a lockdown issued by Wichita North in response to the swatting call because the SRO determined in less than a minute that there was not a legitimate threat. But there was some confusion.

“We know now that other things happened on a different floor of that incident, and we might look at that in a different way and have a different procedure in place next time,” Johnson said.

Friday, additional counselors and resources were made available to North High students to follow up on any additional concerns from the restorative session.

“We’re just lucky nothing happened on that day, that is the silver lining. We got a fake call; police came in, and that definitely upset some people, but luckily, there was no active shooter. Our SROs and administrators were the first to respond,” said Johnson. “Our people ran to the idea of ​​something negative happening without even thinking about their own well-being so that they could keep other people safe. We did a good job on that day. It wasn’t perfect, but we did a good job.”

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