BVNW community reacts following Olathe East shooting

Following the March 4 shooting at Olathe East High School, Northwest staff and students discuss how this affects the community.

Lucy Halverson, Editor at Large

A school resource officer and administrator were injured in a shooting at Olathe East High School, March 4 between 10 and 10:30 a.m. The suspect, an 18-year-old male student at Olathe East, was also injured and in custody.  

Blue Valley Northwest SRO, Anthony Garcia, explained the threat is gone and there are currently no threats in the Blue Valley School District. Garcia also said the Olathe Police Department is working on the reunification between students and families. 

“Olathe just sent out a message to families saying ‘If you have not heard from your child, be aware that we’ve contacted everyone and everybody’s OK. Sometimes in these situations, communication can be delayed, so panic sets in. But they’ve reassured everyone that no students were hurt in the incident,” Garcia said. 

BVNW junior Stella Woodall has multiple friends at Olathe East, and explained how the shooting affected her.

“I was really scared and shocked at first not for myself, but for my friends who go there. I was concerned for their safety,” Woodall said. “It’s hard to think that things like these can happen so close to us. Blue Valley Northwest is very close to Olathe East so I also felt fear for students here.” Though the incident does not directly relate to BVNW, Officer Garcia said this can be a teaching moment for the Northwest community.

“I think it relates to every school, in just reminding us the importance of taking safety precautions. This is why we don’t leave doors open, this is why we don’t let people in from the outside that shouldn’t be here. This is why we have buzz-in systems and SROs in the building,” Garcia said. 

To prevent future situations similar to this, Garcia gives the Northwest faculty and students advice. 

“If you’re hearing things, report it. I know you guys are always seeing things on social media, and those things can be reported anonymously,” Garcia said.  “Every single student, every single teacher, para, custodian, whatever, everybody needs to have buy-in in this building, and I think sometimes we forget that.” 

With the effect these situations can have on parents, students and staff, Garcia encourages all Northwest members to support each other. 

“Here at Northwest, we are a community, we are a family. And we need to be there for one another,” Garcia said.