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East High officials credit protocols and procedures after alleged threat

University of Rochester

A former East High School student remains in jail awaiting a court appearance March 15th after allegedly making terroristic threats against the school.

Abigail Hernandez, a student in the Rochester City School District, pleaded not guilty Monday.

The threat over social media came down February 15th, and East High superintendent Shaun Nelms says the school was quick to respond to the alleged threats, and has had the opportunity to revisit its protocols since the incident.

"Students and staff are much more comfortable understanding the protocol that we took to assure their safety.  But also the importance of taking our fire drills and lockdown drills seriously," he said. "We were very happy to know that all the practice leading up to this incident was effective for our students and our staff."

Nelms says if an event did occur, students and staff have been properly prepared how to respond.

He says the school has talked with students and parents about internet safety, and a forum to help parents better monitor student devices and other issues is scheduled for next month.

Nelms adds the national argument around gun control and how to protect kids is missing one key ingredient, and that's the presence of an adult in the school setting that children feel safe speaking to, what they share with that adult is in confidence, and it allows school officials to interact proactively.

He advocates for an adult presence in schools that children feel safe speaking to and can confide in, plus having school mental health support services readily available, in the form of social workers, counselors, and various community organizations.