Dennis Newell, the school's principal sent an email to parents on Tuesday, Sept. 3 announcing the decision.
"As part of our routine safety measures, HSD administrators and local police will be on site this morning conducting random backpack checks," he wrote. "We take the safety of our students and staff seriously."
Just a Rumor?
On Friday, Aug. 30, the Hazelwood Police Department along with school staff began conducting random backpack checks at the start of school after a tip came in that someone would be brining a weapon to school.
On Friday after school was dismissed for the day, Newell sent out an email to parents letting them know nothing was found.
"As a follow-up to my message earlier today, the plan to increase supervision and backpack searches at West High School went smoothly," he wrote. "As an extra precaution, we also increased HSD staff and Hazelwood police presence during lunch and at dismissal.
"I am pleased to inform you that there were no incidents."
"This department was being proactive and worked in partnership with the Hazelwood School District so we assigned extra Officer's at the school during the students arrival, lunch, and at dismissal," he said. "Classes were held as normal and there were no problems."
District Misses Parents in the Communication
Some parents are concerned the avenues for communicating something of such importance is lacking.
On Hazelwood Patch's Facebook page, several parents said they didn't receive any phone call or email alerting them to the situation.
Cyndi Russell said she got no email or call either but has been getting the HSD E-mail Extra ( a weekly district wide email).
"They have had our email addresses for years, my oldest is a senior," she said. "I didn't find out until 2 p.m., when a friend of my freshman called me at work and told me there have been "bomb threats" and I should go pick the boys up and that he had been picked up already.
"Scared the crap out of me."
Stephanie Spaulding said she missed the notification as well.
"I am another parent that has received nothing," she said. "I also called the school and really wasn't given clear answers."
Jennifer Jackson said her son attends West High and she did not get any alert. Jackson did say once she expressed her concern, Newell called her personally to inform her of the situation.
HSD Email Communication
For anyone wanting email notification about things pertinent to any Hazelwood school, they can click here to sign up. This is not just an emergency notification but emails sent out from each school principal on a weekly or as needed basis.