Officials say no threat to students

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MENOMONEE FALLS - After rumors circulated through the student body about a potential shooting Thursday, March 23, at North Middle School, parents question whether to send their kids to school.

School officials sent a message to parents at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, dispelling the rumor:

"There are rumors moving through the student population here at North about the potential of a school shooting tomorrow. Please understand these rumors are completely false. We take the safety of all students very seriously," it said in the letter.

The letter also said a statement was read to students during seventh hour reiterating that the rumor was false.

Some North Middle School parents, however, are still keeping their kids home.

Natali Heuss is keeping her student home because she said the school has not communicated well with parents.

"Ultimately, their lack of being able to communicate this effectively to parents makes me question their ability to handle this entire situation," Heuss said.

Vicki Bell said it's a tough call, but her child is staying home.

"My child's safety is way more important than sending them to school," Bell said. "If there is a threat, I will not send my child to school. Do I worry that this could happen with no threat? Yes, but when there is a pretty evident threat, I'm not sending him. I do trust the school and the police department, but I'd feel a lot better keeping him home."

Melissa Kaylor's son will also stay home because he told her he doesn't feel safe.

"I mean, the emails the school sent to parents was not convincing to me whatsoever," Kaylor said.

Erin Stankowski said she's hoping for heavy police presence in the community, and in particular, at a child's home who she believes made the shooting threat; ultimately, her child is attending school.

"After going back and fourth, I am putting my faith into our school district and police department and sending my child to school tomorrow," Stankowski said. "I am hoping and praying there is a heavy police presence at this boy's home and school all day and night, Friday and possibly all next week."

Megan Sheridan, Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the district said additional police presence will be at North Middle School on Thursday, March 23.

"Middle school is a challenging age and students often do not understand the gravity of inappropriate jokes or statements," Sheridan said. "At North, when staff are made aware of a concerning comment, regardless of whether or not it was made flippantly, administration investigates it and determines if it is an actual threat. In this particular case, the comment was made and then reported by a student to guidance. Administration investigated and determined that the comment was not a credible threat."

According to Sheridan, during the investigation, students were sharing information with each other that was not true.

"North administration and guidance felt it was important to address this directly today with students as the rumor mill around this comment had gotten out of hand," Sheridan said. "Student safety is of the utmost importance and we would not have students at school if we believed the threat was credible. With the amount of concern raised by our families, we have asked for an additional police presence at North Middle School tomorrow."

Sheridan said the identity and disciplinary actions of the student accused of making the threats cannot be discussed publicly.

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