No direct threat found against SJO after investigation

St. Joseph-Ogden High School alerted parents last night that that there would be an increased police presence at the school this morning.

Superintendent Brian Brooks said a custodian alerted Principal Gary Page and Assistant Principal Brady Smith that they had seen writing on a student table while cleaning that the administration needed to look at.

Brooks said he, Page and Smith looked at the writing, agreed that it was concerning and the three of them met to discuss what course of action to take.

“It was alarming enough in today’s world that we (said) ‘let’s get the sheriff’s office opinion on it,’” Brooks said.

Brooks said the Sheriff’s Department began investigating who could have written the perceived threat on the table. The interviewed students who were in the classroom during the last period of the day.

“They eventually got to the person who admitted writing it, he said.

Brooks said the Sheriff’s Department did not feel there was a direct threat to any person or the school specifically at that time.

“We wanted their opinion, they are the experts,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the district sent the letter explaining the increased police presence to parents and students last night because they wanted everyone to be informed about the situation.

“We wanted our parents to be in the loop and we wanted our parents to hear it from us and not someone else. Our students got the exact same letter. We wanted them to hear it from us and not someone else,” Brooks said.

The letter described the situation and told parents that the student who confessed to the writing would not be in school on Friday.

Brooks said the writing on the table did not contain any direct threat to any individual or anything specific to the school.

Brooks said he feels that any type of language that pertains to a threat to the school should be investigated.

“We need law enforcement to make that call,” he said. “They deal with that on a daily basis, we do not.”

Brooks said the school district felt safe having school this morning after the Sheriff’s Department identified who wrote the statement and interviewed the student.

Brooks said it is important for people who see or hear threats against the school to report them.

“Let the proper people investigate,” he said.  “No body can act until you know this stuff is happening.”

Brooks said students will probably not notice anything different today.

“There isn’t going to be anything too different throughout the day.” He said. “There will not be an increased police presence throughout the school throughout the day.”

The district has a school resource officer that is at the school for most of the school day.

Brooks said there will be additional police at a music concert at the school tonight.

“Not because we have any concerns but just for a comfort level,” he said.

Brooks said he was in the front circle drive of the school this morning while students were being dropped off by parents. Brooks said the students seemed calm.

“I don’t think it’s a situation where they think it can’t happen here,” he said. “Our kids have grown up with it, unfortunately. Unfortunately our kids see it way to often. It is happening way too often. I hope our kids have a trust that we are doing everything we possibly can to make it a safe environment here at school. We are certainly striving for that every day.”

“We want our kids to be comfortable, our kids should feel safe every day they come to school,” he said.

Brooks said the recent school shooting in Florida has brought school safety to the forefront of people’s minds.

“I am not getting into the political side of it,” He said. “I don’t know what the right answer is but I think it’s time to act. I think we all need to act. This needs to change. We all need to do our part to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep kids and our staff safe.”

Categories (2):News, Education


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