Sept. 12, 2001
Terrorist attacks disrupt Blair
By Joe Howley
Reprinted from Silver Chips Online (Blair High School, Montgomery County, Md.)
Montgomery County Public Schools closed early on Tuesday and were closed all day on Wednesday as a result of the terrorist attacks that shook the eastern United States on Tuesday.
Hijackers seized two commercial airplanes and used them to destroy the World Trade Center. Soon after, another place was seized and crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane was hijacked, but for unknown reasons crashed in an old strip mine near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Evidence suggests the crash may have been initiated by passengers aboard the plane in an attempt to thwart the hijackers.
Several hours later, Montgomery County Public Schools announced they would be closing ninety minutes early. Principal Philip Gainous could not supply a definite reason for the closure, but guessed that it could be attributed to both the sheer shock of the attacks and the fact that schools could also be potential terrorist targets.
The decision was made Tuesday night to cancel school on Wednesday. MCPS officials could not be reached for comment, but the MCPS website attributed the closure to "continuing effects of the national emergency."
Some Blair teachers turned on their televisions at the beginning of third period on Tuesday in time to witness the initial coverage of the first attack and to watch, live, the second, but everyone in the building was aware by 9:20, when the main office made an announcement outlining an attack on the World Trade Center. Several announcements followed, informing staff and students that televisions would be set up in the Media Center at lunch.
When news of the Pentagon attack was announced, students and staff were informed that messages from family members would be relayed through the main office.
All downtown internship work and Edison classes were cancelled for the day, as were after-school activities. By the end of 5B, the decision had been made to close school early.
Back-to-School Night, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed.