Janesville49.6°

Craig High deals with false threats of violence

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
May 1, 2012
— Some Craig High School parents kept their kids home Monday after a threat of violence was discovered at the school Friday night.

The school was and continues to be safe, Superintendent Karen Schulte said.


The district reported that 8.7 percent of students were absent Monday, far higher than the normal 4 percent or 5 percent.


School officials searched all student purses and backpacks before they were allowed to enter school Monday.


"You always have to make that judgment call of whether or not you think it's safe," Schulte said Monday. "The way I assess it is, if my own kids were in this situation, am I confident they would be safe? And if I believe that, then we continue on with the school day. If not, we would not have had school at Craig High School today."


Nineteen administrators were called in to help with searches, Schulte said.


A second search was done for students returning from lunch. No contraband was found, officials said.


Police assigned about six extra officers to be at Craig on Monday, Sgt. Brian Donohoue said. Police observed but did not take part in the searches. Students were respectful, and there were no incidents, Donohoue said.


A second threat was discovered Monday morning written on a roll of toilet paper in a rest room, and a 14-year-old boy was referred to juvenile authorities on charges of making a false bomb threat and disorderly conduct.


The school was placed in a soft lockdown for about 10 minutes because of the second threat. No one is allowed in the halls during a soft lockdown, but classes continue.


The 14-year-old admitted to writing the second threat but not the first, Donohoue said.


No arrest had been made in the first threat as of Monday.


The first threat, written on a restroom door, said something like "people are going to die," Donohoue said, but it did not specify how the violence would be carried out. It did, however, say that it would happen Monday.


Schulte said the student who made the threat might be troubled, and if so, officials would want to get help for that student.


Craig was expected to operate normally today.


The searches were similar to those first employed during a series of bomb threats that plagued district schools in the 2000-01 school year.


Parker High School dealt with isolated bomb threats in April 2004 and January 2007, according to Gazette records. Craig faced the same in March 2004 and September 2009.


Making a false bomb threat is a felony in Wisconsin. Students who made past threats have faced court sanctions as well as expulsion.


Bomb threats have led to measures that include hallway cameras to monitor those entering restrooms, where most of the threats had been found, and the requirement that students use only mesh backpacks.



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