Verbatim: Students reflect on school shooting threat

Following the shooting threat that prompted Tuesday’s shelter-in-place, The Paly Voice asked Palo Alto High School students to reflect on their reaction and thoughts about the incident. 

A note threatening to “shoot up” a classroom at Palo Alto High School was discovered on Tuesday, prompting Paly administrators to order an hour-long shelter-in-place for students and staff. The suspect, a 17-year-old student, was apprehended by local authorities with the help of a recently installed campus security system. In a Paly Voice sponsored press conference this morning, Superintendent Don Austin said the district was aware that the threat was not credible upon investigating the threat with police officers and was amplified by misinformation on social media.

“The class was instructed by the teacher to sit in one corner of the room … I now have a lot of empathy for students who have gone through such events because it’s just something that catches you off guard. School is the second-most place that we spend time in, so it becomes a sort of safe space. But, when something like this happens, I begin to doubt my safety now and in the future.”                                                                                                                                                                                                             — junior Lucianna Peralta       

“Well, my teacher told us it was a drill, so I didn’t really think anything of it. A few people in the class were somewhat scared, but other than that, most people were just chill about it, and we just continued doing our work.”                                                                                                                                              — freshman Connor Lee

“We were in the middle of a test, and then we got the announcement. My teacher was just like, ‘Oh, keep doing the test, it’s totally fine’. People were starting to joke about dying and getting shot at and I thought that was pretty cavalier. … I feel like they [Paly administrators] could have sent out a message to the parents [earlier], kept the students more informed, or told people to stay away if there was an active threat. I think that was incompetence on the part of the administration.”

— sophomore Clare Akin

“Initially, I didn’t really know what was going on. We were just locked down and people were joking about it, and I was joking with them. It wasn’t that big of a deal at first, but then rumors started popping up and I saw a picture of the letter.”                                                                                                              — sophomore Paul Hung

“I felt safe, and in the back of my mind I knew nothing would happen. At the start, I didn’t understand what was happening. I was taking an AP Lang test, so I was slightly confused about what it [the shelter-in-place announcement] was for. However, I still feel safe at Paly because the police came right away, and the shelter-in-place kept us safe in the classroom.”

— junior Benjamin Bakhash


(Photos: Ketan Altekar-Okazaki & Nathan Jiang)