News 4 had a crew on Northview campus Monday morning for a press conference and spoke to some of the parents and students who were leaving because of the threats.
Most expressed concern for their children's safety and said they were upset by what they say was delayed communication from school officials.
The investigation into the threats began Friday night, with arrests made Saturday. But it wasn't until after 6AM Monday morning that parents or media were officially notified.
Nicole Blackmon and her husband rushed to Northview High School within minutes of hearing rumors from co-workers about a threatening incident at her son's school. "I left work to come pick my son up and he was a little upset because he said a principal came across the intercom and told them that four students had been arrested and everything was gonna’ be okay. But the part that concerns me is that the parents were not notified. We have to hear this from second-hand talk."
And, the Blackmon's were not the only parents with this concern; 326 of the 1200 students enrolled at Northview took the day off of school, with parents checking their children out of classes through noon.
Many heard of the weekend's incident from their children, who contacted them after an announcement was made over the school's intercom.
However, three days after the investigation launched at a 10AM press conference, where school officials released confirmed information for the first time, Principal Ron Snell says school grounds are safe and it's important that parents get the facts. "I just want to reassure them and they need to know absolutely everything is fine,” he said. “We're having a normal day, a normal week and we'll have a great end to a great school year."
Ss for incorrect information that circulated by word-of-mouth this weekend, school officials say they are trying to find a better way to deliver facts quickly and directly to students and their parents.
The school has a weekly newsletter that is sent out. However, Dothan City Schools is looking into a program called "School Cast", which would easily, accurately and immediately distribute information in the event of a tragedy.
School officials say "School Cast" is simply an idea at this point. However, it costs tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and would have to be approved through the budget before it's considered.