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Concerned Parents Express Outrage About Arsons, Threats At Penn Wood High School

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by Elizabeth Hur

YEADON, PA., (CBS) – Emotions ran high as parents in a Delaware County School District voiced their concerns about arsons and threats.

The reward money is also growing for information that leads to the capture and conviction of the suspect.

Concerned parents expressed outrage during a special meeting at Penn Wood High School’s Cypress Street Campus in Yeadon Tuesday night.

READ: Complete coverage of Penn Wood High School

As a result of the fires, students who used to study out of two campuses are now sharing the Cypress Street Campus and taking classes in split shifts. The parents we spoke with call that an inconvenience they can tolerate. What is not acceptable, they say, is the lack of communication.

Roxanne Norman, whose son is in 9th grade said, “I personally am not going to continue to put a gun to my son’s head like a Russian roulette and send him here when no one is really is giving us answers.”

Worried and frustrated parents, who packed the auditorium for the special meeting, gave school leaders and elected officials an earful.

Another parent questioned, “If I’m sending him to a school that’s not safe?  How am I keeping him safe?”

That question was followed by this remark from another parent, “The school is not doing what they need to do to keep parents informed.”

They wanted their concerns addressed and officials did their best to calm their nerves.

William Penn Schools Superintendant Joseph Bruni responded, “We have a global connect system, if your telephone number is correct in that system, our telephone system puts out calls every time something happens. How many people received those calls? Please take a look around here, just take a look so that you know.”

Most of the parents gathered there did acknowledge, by raising their arms, that they are receiving the calls.

This meeting was arranged following at least six alarming incidents at Penn Wood. According to officials, since February, someone has been calling in bomb threats and even intentionally setting fires inside the school. We’re told, the phone calls could not be traced and investigators have surveillance video of a suspect but because the video quality is so poor, they have yet to make an arrest.

Norman responded, “So it’s like ok this is what’s happening and there was no real information being shared about what the plan was to mitigate any further risk to our children’s lives.”

After the meeting, Supt. Bruni told Eyewitness News, “We need parents to be informed. I think communication is absolutely important. I think parents need to talk to their children to get any information they have and join school district officials to work together to have the safe environment they all want to have. School is not a safe place, anything can happen here. Time has proven that to be the case. However, we try to make it safe. We brought all kinds of plans into place. We have a new security force, we have the doors buzzers and alarm systems. We do all of those things.”

State Sen. Anthony H. Williams added, “We’re living in the backdrop of Connecticut and other places and this is no different. I think frankly we moved a little slow. That’s on us collectively but we’re going to respond. We’re going to respond form the federal level, Congressman Bob Brady has talked to me tonight about this. We’re going to respond from the state level. We’re going to be much more omnipresent here and we’re going to find the person who did this.”

Authorities announced at the meeting, the reward in this case now stands at $15,000.

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