Yesterday I was sent to cover a bomb threat at Souderton High School. The assignment was vague, school evacuated….find out why and illustrate it.
I arrive at the school, and find that the entrance is blocked. The police officer on scene says, “Go to the school district offices,” but wouldn’t tell me why the school was evacuated. I think that’s not going to work for me. So, I drive around to another entrance. There I see a line of cars trying to get to and from the school. Students are walking away, looking somewhat distraught. I get out of the car with a 300mm. Start making pictures of three girls walking from the school. The one girl flips me off.
I ask them what was going on and explain I was there for a newspaper. They tell me about the bomb threat and that the reason the other girl flipped me off was that she couldn’t get back to her car and they were stranded outside the school. Apparently, her keys were in her backpack at the school. No car keys. No ride.
I realize I can’t get through the traffic. Then decide to find another way in. Along a side road there was another entrance to the football field. I park and walk across the field. Made some images and video of students in the stadium waiting to go home. The stadium was the safest and farthest place away from the school building for students to congregate. As I walked closer to the building, a police officer and the school principle stopped and asked if I had permission to be on school property. I explained why I was there and that I wasn’t sure if I had permission. I was told by the officer and principal that I do not have permission and had to leave. I recall thinking, “If you know I don’t have permission, then why are you asking.” I said no problem, and started to exit. As I was walking away, I was thinking that since every time they have an event at the school the and send a press release aren’t they “inviting” us onto school property? Isn’t that permission? It didn’t matter though, I had what I needed as far as imagery, and didn’t want to run into a hassle with the police.