Dear Parents and Community,
Leaders in the West Branch Community School District in cooperation with the West Branch Police Department have completed the investigation related to a threatening message found in our high school on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. The district and police have received a confession from an identified suspect. The individual and their parents requested to meet with superintendent of schools on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The high school principal also participated in the interview.
The student is a minor with no previous history of violence, no access to weapons and is in good academic standing overall. An assessment of the student’s sharing indicates a complete “lapse in judgment.” There was no intent to carry out the threat. The district plans to resume school on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
The student has been suspended indefinitely to allow for police and district follow-up. At the request of the superintendent, police are completing inspections of the school buildings. To ensure security, additional law enforcement and surveillance will be in place over the next few days and weeks.
It is great to live in a community and work in a school district where people truly put students-first. Our students were the key to this investigation. They saw something that was inappropriate and immediately reported it. Due to the timing of the investigation, the decision to close the schools was done as a precautionary measure.
We want to thank the West Branch Police Department for their immediate, confidential, professional support. Our schools are very safe, but we live in an era where all “threats” must be taken seriously. We will continue to monitor and review school safety protocols. Students and parents should know that our principals, guidance counselors and mental health professionals have plans to support students who may have questions or be apprehensive of returning. We are here to support students.
Finally, I would like to personally thank our students, staff and community for their patience and support during these trying moments. Student and staff safety is paramount. It is on our minds each and every day.
Mr. Hatfield, Superintendent of Schools
West Branch Community School District