Superintendent apologizes for airing school shooting audio

The Associated Press

MOUNTAINTOP, Pa. – A Pennsylvania school district that played audio clips of the Florida high school mass shooting during a tribute to victims has apologized.

Daniel Bishop, 16, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, cries at a makeshift memorial outside the school, in Parkland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Officials said the tribute was broadcast Wednesday during a student protest at the Crestwood School District that was part of nationwide walkout over gun violence following the shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The tribute broadcast over a loudspeaker at the Crestwood Secondary Campus included the sounds of gunfire, students yelling for help and the sirens of emergency vehicles, The (Hazleton) Standard-Speaker reported . It also included interviews with survivors.

After complaints from some parents of students in the district, the superintendent apologized Thursday on his personal Twitter account, saying the clip “should not have been played.”

“I accept full responsibility for this matter and I apologize,” the statement from Superintendent Joseph Gorham’s Twitter account said. “We have responded to parents who have contacted us. This type of event will not occur again.”

Melissa Kitchen, of Fairview Township, said her children know of the Florida massacre, and there have been discussions in her home about gun violence across the nation, but “I don’t think they need to hear that.” Kitchen said her seventh-grader and 10th-grader heard the audio clip over the school’s public address system during the walkout.

“It should have been an adult’s place to say, ‘We don’t think that’s OK, and this shouldn’t be done.’ That’s how I’m feeling too,” she said.