Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Officers stationed at South Middle School as a precautionary response to verbal threat

April 18, 2017, 9:07 a.m. Updated April 18, 2017, 12:14 p.m.

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Police were at Lawrence’s South Middle School on Tuesday in response to a threat the school received from a student the night before, district officials say.

Monday night a student - upset with a teacher during a class earlier that day - made a verbal comment of a “generally threatening nature toward the school”, Lawrence Public School District spokeswoman Julie Boyle said in a written response to questions.

The district called police who investigated the matter, she said.

“Following the investigation, police informed the district that there was no credible threat to school safety,” she said via email.

The student was disciplined “in accordance with board policy,” she said.

When asked about the specific type of discipline administered, Boyle said student disciplinary records are confidential.

Policies set forth by both the district and South Middle School indicate that, depending on the severity of the offense, disciplines may include administrative phone calls to parents, suspension or expulsion.

Boyle did say the student’s parents were notified.

“The school also notified all staff and school families of the investigation,” she said. “Student and staff safety is our first priority. The district and each of our schools take comments of a threatening nature seriously and work with law enforcement to investigate reported concerns.”

Even though police determined there was no immediate threat to the school, officers were on campus Tuesday at 2732 Louisiana St. as a precautionary measure, Boyle said.

In a similar case which took place this winter, the district pressed charges against a teenager who reportedly called in a threat.

Some time during the district’s winter break, which was held between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4, a threatening voicemail message was left on the answering machine of New York Elementary School, 936 New York St., Boyle said.

The message was received when school was back in session and police were called, Boyle said.

Officers concluded the reported threat - which was not credible - came from a teenager in California who dialed the school at random, Boyle said.

Though the reported threat was not credible, Boyle said the district decided to press charges in the case. She was not sure, however, of how far the criminal process had gone in the New York Elementary case as of Tuesday.

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