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Threat shuts down Mahanoy Area School District

More than a thousand students and staff were forced to leave their buildings due to a threat to the entire school district.

MAHANOY CITY, Pa. — Students and teachers filled the streets of downtown Mahanoy City after officials said a threat forced the school district to evacuate everyone.

Branden Ritsko, an 8th grader, was having a normal day of classes until he heard the announcement around lunchtime.

“I was sitting in my classroom, and it went off. And we were told to evacuate the building because there was some kind of threat, and then we went behind and then went to the firehouse,” he said.

Ritsko and his classmates thought this was another drill until they realized they weren't allowed to go back into the building.

“Then we all said OK and we tried to stay lined up so we could get out as quickly as possible,” Ritsko added.

Superintendent Dr. Joie Green put on her safety vest to help with traffic control as the streets were crowded with concerned parents.

“Your students are safe with us. Having them running down here to get their students is causing major problems with our buses; trying to get our students into the buses, it's causing so much build-up, so we had to shut down some streets because of that,” she mentioned.

By sticking to their plan, every student and staff were evacuated safely out of the building.

Some found temporary shelter at churches, fire stations, and the public library until everyone was able to get a ride home.

“I don't think parents and people in the community understand how difficult it is to evacuate all 1000 students and 250 staff members. In this situation, my first priority is my student's and staff's safety. Then as I can take a breath, I can get the message out to parents,” said Dr. Green.

District officials would not give any details on the threat itself, but the superintendent said the evacuation shows that everyone in the school was prepared.

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