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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – From politically charged graffiti to the threat of a gun on campus, a Plano high school is working to calm parents’ and students’ concerns after a series of disturbing incidents.
The school district said it had extra police patrols and surveillance on campus Thursday as a precaution even after a gun threat was discredited. Now parents and students are hoping the post-election hostility is behind them.
The graffiti found at Plano East Senior High School vowing to, “Build That Wall,” would have been one thing, but by the time parent Lisa Shaffer got another email about a gun rumor, she had had enough.
“The chalk graffiti and now this. I mean, I was nervous, you know. Do I send my son to school, you know, is he safe?” Shaffer asked.
The school’s principal, George King was clear that the gun threat was resolved. In his earlier message to parents about the graffiti, he wrote, “… our staff worked to encourage sensitivity among students. Staff members took care to infuse rational calm through their words and actions while reminding students that this is a time to promote healing.”
“They’re talking about it during the whole time in school. It felt surreal to me, like we were in a dream, and I can’t believe these things are happening,” Plano East student Nadia Khan said about the post-election night mood.
Khan and fellow senior Autumn Atkins described a tense atmosphere at school. After the graffiti, students began hearing reports about possible threats to Muslim students. A classmate wearing traditional Muslim dress tweeted about another student harassing her.
“The fact that so many of our students feel unsafe right now… that’s a big deal,” Atkins said.
That’s why after agreeing to let her son go to school, Shaffer met with the principal. She said now she feels reassured about how the school is handling the incidents, and hopes this becomes a teachable moment for students.
“I really hope maybe this does spur some dialogue with the students, and I do feel like they are watching out for each other,” Shaffer said.
Plano Police said the gun rumor goes back to a threat from early October that was discredited then. Officers said the latest concern came from someone speculating the threat was renewed, but investigators have no indication that’s the case.
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