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Threat at Greenville High School drew concerted, appropriate response

Within a week of a student being taken into custody for making a threat at Greenville High School, county and school officials held a public meeting to calm frayed nerves and inform the public of the steps that were taken in response to the situation.

It became clear from the presentations Jan. 29 that high school principal Traci Cockerill took the immediate and appropriate action required when a teacher alerted her to a student making a threat. In addition to Cockerill, each of the individuals who responded to the incident as it unfolded did so in a manner that de-escalated the situation, ensured the safety of others, and brought help to the student.

District Attorney David Hollister took the lead role in a meeting that included the sheriff, the CHP commander, the school district superintendent and other staff including its safety officer, as well as the county’s behavioral health director and chief probation officer.

All answered questions from the students and families assembled to learn more about the particulars of this situation as well as what would be put in place in the future to keep Plumas Unified School District’s students safe. While there are already plans and safety measures in place on all campuses, by the beginning of the next school year, additional state of the art equipment will be installed.

While all of the training and technology is reassuring, it is a sad commentary that this is even a part of our reality — that active shooter drills are practiced along with fire drills. That’s why it was important that behavioral health was present during the community forum. What can be done to prevent the type of threat that occurred in Greenville?

Tony Hobson, the county’s director of Behavioral Health, said that the wellness center offers local assistance in Greenville for three hours every Tuesday morning. That’s a great start, but what more could be done? Is the answer with the county’s behavioral health department, or the school district or is it a family responsibility? There is no simple answer, but a solution probably must include all of those entities and more.

For more details about what transpired during the meeting, see the front section of your newspaper. Even though the incident and the meeting took place in Greenville, it’s a scenario that is familiar to all of our communities and the information shared pertinent to all.

We are thankful that we have community leaders who are aware of the seriousness of the situation, who are working together, and who are taking the steps necessary to ensure our students’ safety.

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