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Friday, May 6, 2016

Greencastle officials addressing undisclosed threat at high school

Friday, December 21, 2012

(Photo)
Greencastle High School
School and law enforcement officials are addressing a pair of undisclosed threats made at Greencastle High School this week.

Interim Superintendent Dawn Puckett sent a message to parents Thursday afternoon regarding the threat and what officials are doing to address the issue.

Puckett said that on Tuesday, principal Russ Hesler was notified that "an inappropriate message with a vague threat had been written inside a bathroom stall."

She added that an investigation involving administrators, law enforcement and the school crisis management team had been ongoing since Tuesday.

The message also disclosed that an additional threat was found on Thursday in the same restroom.

"The investigation has uncovered no evidence of a truly credible threat, and some confidentiality must be maintained at this point in order to complete the investigation effectively," Puckett said.

The messages are vague, Puckett emphasized, and referenced no specific dates or actions.

"Please know that the school district would have contacted parents immediately if any evidence of a viable threat had been discovered," Puckett said.

She added, though, that officials are taking every precaution they can regarding this issue. Episodes of school violence such as last week's tragedy in Connecticut mean any threat is taken seriously.

"Unfortunately, after tragedies like the one last week, schools and other facilities all around the nation often encounter individuals who write or say things to try to scare others or to seek attention for themselves," Puckett said. "It is an unfortunate reality, but we still always take such incidents very seriously -- even when they are very general or vague like these two messages were."

Puckett concluded her message by reminding parents that Greencastle Schools had safety measures in place even before last week's shootings.

The threats, no matter how vague, have the schools taking things a step further on Friday.

"In addition to our buzzer and camera entry security precautions, which occur on a daily basis, we will have police presence at Greencastle High School for our final day of classes before winter break tomorrow (Friday)," Puckett said.

"Parents, please reassure your high school students that information on social media is not necessarily the factual information. We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals and our trained school specialists to determine the source of the threats, and that absolutely every precaution for student safety is our number one priority."

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, the school corporation had already tried to address the concerns of worried parents, students and community members. Earlier this week, the following message was posted on the school website:

We want to assure our families that our district has an updated school safety plan that has been created and is reviewed in collaboration with local law enforcement.

In fact, each of our building administrators is a certified school safety specialist. The members of our staff have been trained on the specifics of this plan, and we conduct periodic drills to ensure that everyone knows his or her role during a crisis.

Our school also has specific protocol for entry to our schools, and we appreciate the understanding of our parents as we enforce these protocols for the safety of our children.

The safety of our students remains our highest priority.