Archive for Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Student arrested for threat on Web

January 16, 2008

Leavenworth County sheriff's officers arrested a 15-year-old Tonganoxie High School student after he told a fellow student he was going to kill her.

Officers took the youth into custody Friday. The arrest came after an investigation at THS.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined the suspect told the victim she would be the first he was going to kill. The threat happened during the sixth hour of class Friday, reports said.

The officers were responding to the high school because of contents of his Facebook page. Facebook is a social networking Web site.

THS principal Jamie Carlisle declined to comment on the student, citing student privacy issues.

However, he did say that the incident did not occur on school grounds. Rather, the situation was brought to his attention, and he then contacted the authorities.

"I had an active role because I care about kids," Carlisle said.

The student had posted comments on his Facebook page that read he hated school and he was going to shoot it up and kill more than 13 people. The suspect told deputies the posting was a joke and he would delete the comments.

The investigation came one day after students in grades 7-12 attended a Rachel's Challenge assembly. Rachel's Challenge is an organization that was created after the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado. The organization was named after Rachel Scott, who was the first person killed during the tragedy. The organization challenges others to show compassion and kindness toward others, something that Scott was known for.

The day of the tragedy, 12 students and a teacher were killed - the same total number the THS student vowed to eclipse with his threat.

Attempts by The Mirror to find the student's Web page online were unsuccessful.

In most cases, full Facebook pages may only be viewed by fellow members who are approved by the page's "owner" as a "friend," thus allowing them access to the information.

Sheriff's officers found the suspect at his home in Tonganoxie and he was taken into custody. The suspect was booked into the Juvenile Detention Facility in Leavenworth without incident Friday, reports said.

Bob Doyle at the detention facility said Tuesday that the 15-year-old was released, by order of the county attorney's office, to a family member about 10:10 p.m. Saturday.

Comments

aprildohle 6 years, 11 months ago

'Threats' such as this cannot be downplayed or ignored. As a parent I am truly discouraged that we were informed of this incident by a KCTV5 news crews on Tuesday. According to the newscast the Leavenworth Times reported on the incident. A neighbor who has a child at TMS called to ask what had happened as they received a call from the district's phone notification system. As you recall there were a couple of students at TMS expelled earlier this year for making a verbal gun threat during school hours. Our school board has assured me that our district has an emergency plan in place for situations such as this. As a community we have to take a proactive approach and not deny the facts. Incidents of school violence (or massacres, as tagged by the media) rarely occur in urban schools. They occur in suburban and rural schools. I have had dialogue with students in urban schools surrounding school violence and am told they view their schools as a safe haven, a place to be fed breakfast and lunch, and an escape from the violence which permeates their neighborhoods and homes and realistically the requirement to walk through metal detectors upon entering the schools which are monitored by the school resource officers.

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JerryB 6 years, 11 months ago

Why was a simple, straightforward letter not send home with students on Monday explaining the situation?

In most school districts, that is the norm: when an incident as significant and concerning as this comes about, parents, students, and the community are informed as soon as possible as to the situation, the consequences, and the plans to mitigate any potential harm.

This is not a "privacy" issue as it has been reported. Parents are not insisting on knowing this student's name or any other identifiable specifics - but they DO have a right to know more about the incident and what has been done about it. And they have a right to hear that on Monday morning, not via the Tuesday evening news.

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cayenne 6 years, 11 months ago

I am concerned about the school's notification system itself as well as the release of information prior to news broadcast. In the event of an actual emergency...am I going to be notified at 5:15 p.m. again? I work 45 minutes away. This will be the second after-hours notification I have received and at that point there is no way to contact the school. The first late notification I received was when they released students early due to the weather. I didn't find out until I was on my way home and by then it was a little bit late, my grade school student was released early and I had no idea where she was!!! I called the school, and it was treated like it was no big deal. It is a big deal when it is your child!!!

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davenlex 6 years, 11 months ago

Sadly, I am not surprised that this occurred at this school. I still have in my son's files from last year with statements given to police officers by THS students regarding an incident with my son on school grounds in which the students admit that they threatened him. My son was removed from the Tonganoxie district through a decision of a board, but absolutely nothing was done to the other students. I did hear that one of them was suspended for a week- which to me is nothing! Tonganoxie school district takes nothing seriously until they are forced to by the courts. The problems in this district are so numerous that it is hard to believe that the state has not stepped in and made some guidelines as to how they need to proceed to provide students with the SAFE and free public education that they are entitled to.

I am certainly glad to be away from that school district and in a district that, although it has it's share of issues, is not only capable but insistant that threats and other safety issues are dealt with quickly and seriously.

By the way- for those of you who know my son and I, he is doing very well here in the public school system. No issues at all! He is not only doing well academically, but socially as well. Thanks for all of your support at the board meetings.

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