Two junior high school students in Rathdrum were arrested Wednesday for having a “hit list” at school.
The students, ages 13 and 14, each were found with a list of three names, the Rathdrum Police Department said. Investigators concluded these were separate incidents and that no other students were involved.
“The safety and security of the students and staff within the Lakeland School District is of the highest priority and all threats are taken seriously by the Rathdrum Police Department,” Interim police Chief Tomi McLean said in a news release.
Lakeland schools Superintendent Becky Meyer sent a note to parents Wednesday night to assure them the district is taking “every precaution” to keep students safe. The school resource officer from the Rathdrum police is on the middle school campus this week, Meyer said, and “all external doors are locked with a staff person at the front door.”
Police also have added extra officers to patrol the area around the school.
The first list was discovered Tuesday. The note listed “three generic first names and did not identify specific students,” Meyer said.
School staff investigated but did not notify the district office until Wednesday. During the police investigation Wednesday, the second note was discovered. It contained one student’s full name and two first names, officials said.
In addition to facing charges of making a threat of violence at school, the students could face expulsion. The police will determine if the threats were credible.
“We have to take every single threat seriously because of the sad reality of school violence,” Meyer said Thursday. “Even if a staff person believes that the students is not capable, if they were joking, they say they were kidding … it’s not okay to have any threats against other students in school.”
She has heard from parents upset they weren’t notified until the day after the first threat was discovered.
“We apologize for not sending parent notifications Tuesday night and have taken steps to rectify that error,” Meyer said in her note to parents. “As I am in my first year as superintendent, I will be reviewing all protocols and am taking steps to insure that timely communication occurs moving forward.”
Meyer, a school administrator since 2001, said she will require schools to notify the district office immediately when a threat is detected. She also said she is investigating how long the first student remained at school after the first list was found.
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