Hopewell School District hoax call affected Freedom, other school districts


Elizabeth Mooney

The Freedom Area Middle School main office and lobby, where most people enter the building.

The intruder hoax occurred on Wednesday, March 29. On this day, a phone call was going around to various schools, and one went to 911. The phone calls were regarding an active shooter at Hopewell. The phone calls caused our school to take safety precautions and brought a response from police officers. The Superintendent, Ms. Diane Workman, sent a mass email to the staff, and Officer Rick Jones notified other officers from his department about what was going on. Because of this, there were six officers on campus that arrived in minutes. There were two from Conway/Freedom, and four came from New Sewickley.  

 “This is what brought a response. I do not know how, there were several schools in PA that got the hoax call. Lawrence County, Butler County, it wasn’t just Hopewell. I’m in contact with all school officers in Beaver County, we can relay messages and communicate can gain information that way as well. Once I was advised, I wanted to take our protocols. I notified the resource officer at the high school and Diane Workman. I advised her, and we carried out the protocol because our number one priority is the safety of the students and staff. I would assume they [the students] would be nervous and scared. We’re here to help as much as we can with any issues, but we know teachers and staff: some will be frightened a bit. The investigation went on. We put a restricted movement to keep students safer,” Officer Rick Jones, school resource officer, stated. 

However, the phone call turned out to be a hoax through further investigation. 

“An all-call went out to parents. I also sent an email to all employees so they knew what was going on. The all call went to parents probably within five to ten minutes of me being notified; I wanted them to know that we believed it was a hoax, that the police officers were here, that we were going into restricted movement just to ensure safety as much as possible…school and classes would go on as normal, ” Ms. Workman stated. 

“We can work as a team with law enforcement and come up with new ideas and safety measures for the school. Everything costs money, so we try to get money from grants to purchase safety measures for the schools,” Officer Jones states. 

All three schools are looking for safety measures in case something like this ever happens again. 

Our school will make sure everyone is safe and secure if this ever happens again.