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Schools Tighten Security After Rumors of Threats Surface [UPDATED]

Rumors spreading on social networking sites regarding possible violence at North and South high schools, but Waukesha Police Department has not located a specific threat.

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday to include new information about rumors at Waukesha South High School. A letter to parents from Superintendent Todd Gray is attached to this article.

Waukesha police and school officials are taking precautions after hearing rumors of threats at Waukesha North and South high schools, even though no specific threats have been found.

Waukesha South Principal Timothy Joynt and Waukesha North Principal Jody Landish, in an email to parents Tuesday afternoon, said there are rumors on Facebook about "something bad happening" at the school.

Joynt said the school has locked all outside doors and the only way to enter the building is through the Roberta Street turnaround. A school employee will have to be called to allow parents and other visitors into the building, Joynt said.

At rumors have been circulating among the student body about a shooting that could take place on Friday, but the police department has not located a specific threat.

The Waukesha Police Department has sent out this information about the rumors that have been reported at North:

Since the late afternoon of Monday, December 17th, the Waukesha Police Department received phone calls from students, parents and others about a rumor circulating on Facebook of a possible shooting that may occur on Friday, December 21st at Waukesha North High School.  At this point, the information stems from rumor and not a specific threat.

As always, the Waukesha Police Department takes every potential threat seriously; especially in light of recent events.  The Waukesha Police Department is working closely with the schools to determine the source of the threat.

At this point, this information is being released simply to inform and not to alarm or cause a panic.  The Waukesha School District and Police Department are working jointly to address the rumors as neighboring schools in the District have experienced a similar situation. This is most likely fueled by the ability to quickly communicate through the use of social networking sites.

Waukesha Police St. Jerry Habanek said the police department's fielded about 15 to 20 phone calls about the rumors. The school has also been receiving phone calls.

"Our school resource officer has been busy with it as well," Habanek said.

There will be an increased police presense at all three public high schools this week, including on Friday, according to Habanek.

"We are still investigating," Habanek said. "We have talked to a series of students regarding these threats. So far we have determined there is no specific threat."

Similar rumors have been spread among West and South students, and at Arowhead, according to Habanek.

"Social networking really doesn't have boundaries," Habanek said.

In emails to parents, Joynt and Landish said the district is taking the rumors seriously and has been working closely with local police.

"All our information tells us that these are false rumors that continue to gain speed through the use of social media," the email states. "As we continuously investigate between general and specific information, I will continue to team with the PD and district officials to make sure we continue our efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for all students and staff.

Elizabeth December 19, 2012 at 12:54 AM
What about the elementary schools that surround these High schools? Well there be extra protection for our younger kids too?
michelle shulfer December 19, 2012 at 01:31 AM
What is this world coming to.
Kari December 19, 2012 at 02:29 AM
It is sad that kids use the tragedy that happened in CT to their advantage - absolutely insane! What is happening to our kids?
Angee December 19, 2012 at 04:16 AM
My autistic son who goes to North came home telling there was a threat for Friday. He had a hard time going to bed. He was concerned for his friends. So sad and scary.
Bonita December 19, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Definately wouldn't be sending my child to school for a few days and who would blame me. Even though my children are both out of school now one of them went to North and one went to South. My thoughts and hopes are that if this is true the person or persons involved in making these threats needs to know that God will not hand then anything they can not handle and there is some one who will listen and help them with any and every situation they face. If this is just some one wanting attention or thinks this is funny ITS NOT!!!!
Adam Kindred December 19, 2012 at 01:42 PM
How many times have there been "threats" that have not been followed through on? If this person was going to carry out something, they would not tell anyone or post it to give any warning. As for schools being locked, they have always been since I was in school back in 98-01. Now you already have to be buzzed in while all other doors are locked. But I do have a solution! Give a Military Vet a firearm to partol schools. There are plenty of vets without jobs who would do this to protect others. They are trained with firearms and have protected other people throughout their military career.
Debra VanWyk December 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Because there is no viable threat all they are going to do is lock the doors? Aren't they already locked? If it is a student how is locking the doors going to do anything? My daughter will not be in school on Friday. I left a message for the school without a call back as of now. They may not be taking this seriously but I sure am.
Adam Kindred December 19, 2012 at 02:58 PM
There were Facebook postings about this from what I have heard. It is simple enough to track down who posted these by email and IP addresses from what computer or phone they came from. As well as when the email account was set up for the posting. If this is a real threat, then the police should have the person by lunch time.
Adam Kindred December 19, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Call me insensitive if you want, but I call these threats bull corn. I have based my opinions on logic, basic psychology and sociology. If someone will do something drastic, no locked doors or extra security will stop them and they sure as hell would not advertise they are going to do it.
Ash December 19, 2012 at 03:22 PM
My daughter attends Heyer and there was ZERO communication about this from the school, cant say I am surprised. Luckily Waukesha Patch informs me of what is going on. I love the idea of giving the vets an opportunity. Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.
James Nielsen December 19, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I have a step-son that goes to North. He doesn't even want to go to school since the threat was made known. So, his mother and I decided to ease his mind and let him stay home on Friday. Nowadays, a parent can't be too careful. It's a damn shame, what todays society has become. What kind of a sick mind could even threaten to shoot up a school, let alone doing it? I don't think the "rumor" creator(s) realizes the severity of an act like he/she of that caliber. First of all, I truely hope it's only a rumor...but secondly, I hope the police find the source(s) of such a terroristic threat and make an example of them. In light of the recent school-shooting in Sandy Hook, CT...there's no excuse for anyone to threaten, jokingly or not, the lives of innocent kids. That takes a very insensitive and sadistic mindset to do something this disgusting!
Louise December 19, 2012 at 04:44 PM
My daughter heard about it directly from her counselor at North, so it's not just being spread by kids.
Atron December 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Sounds like someone wants a day off of school to go to the mall. IMO, pretty much nonsense. Its the threats that aren't broadcast which are the bad ones.
Fred van der Wal December 19, 2012 at 06:15 PM
@Adam..no need to bring more weapons on school grounds,besides schools already have a armed police officer present.
Adam Kindred December 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I never said anything about adding more weapons, just have Vets do it instead of police. I would rather have a vet who has fired upon a treat instead of a police office who may or may not have fired his/her service weapon (most police officers have never fired their weapon besides at a range). Speaking from personal expirence of 13 months in Iraq from Mar 03 to April 04, no matter how much training you have, it is very hard to fire upon another human being. Even in a "kill or be killed" senerio. Mental ill people are excempt from my statement.
Katie December 19, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I have children at waukeaha stem we received an email concerning this and that there will be increased security/police presence at our as well as other area schools.... I took that to mean elementary as well both Thursday and Friday
the 'sha guy December 19, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Will the people holding their children out of school on Friday also not drive them to and from school the rest of the year? There is a much higher likelihood that a child is killed in a car accident on the way to or from school than they are of being killed in a gun shooting or bomb at a school. By holding your kids out of school, you are essentially rewarding the behavior of the delinquent who made this apparent threat. Send them to school and live life without being afraid. When your time comes, your time will come. If you succumb to these types of threats, you have already lost the fight.
Dan December 19, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I think Adam is on the right track. I think they should allow teachers to carry side arms. Give them some training and make the ones that want to pass a course. These teachers and students are sitting ducks. By the time they know something is happening its to late. They are trapped with no where to go. At least they would have a chance. Also the media should leave this subject alone. Thats what these sick basturds want. TV TIME. And we give it to them! For the jokesters the punishment should be prison. We need to set a example and set it quick. Anyone that takes what happen in Ct to those little kids and makes pranks or jokes should be thrown in prison. Sounds harsh but the truth!
Get Your Facts Straight December 20, 2012 at 01:10 AM
This is an untrue statement. Please get your facts straight. I know for certain that the school has sent out 2 letters from the superintendent's office since friday. I know that my child often forgets to bring important papers home daily. I get mail home days after it is originally sent out! They're just kids they make mistakes too! I believe that Heyer School has been doing awesome this year with communicating to parents.
Meg S December 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I won't call you insensitive. I call you naive. The logic, basic psychology and sociology on which you are basing your opinions are not the psychology and sociology I studied in undergraduate studies in a private, highly respected college or in graduate school at UW Madison or utilize in my profession as a forensic specialist. Your opinions are potentially fatally flawed Adam. I know from years of experience and evidence that someone who "advertises" and/or threatens to kill, whether it be to kill someone else or to commit suicide or both, have and will continue in the future to follow through with the threat. Obviously, not everyone who has threatened to kill has or will follow through, but read this and be enlightened: Some do. Ignorance and naivety lead to tragedies. I hope you will not risk your life or the lives of others on your faulty and wrong assumptions. Life is precious, fragile and unpredictable. Don't risk it. Don't stay ignorant. People with mental illness DO follow through with threats of violence. Do you naively believe that everyone who is reckless enough to make a threats of violence can be trusted to be predictable? Your opinions are frightening.
Meg S December 22, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Adam, I just reread your earlier post. You were/are most likely a very brave young man. I am intimately connected with the military. I am a family survivor of an incredibly courageous USAF EOD Journeyman who was KIA in Afghanistan. Since you shared what years you attended high school, I know you are young. It takes many years of experiencing life to become wise. So I will cut you some slack. However, as I said in my first reply to you, ignorance leads to tragedy. No one has to remain ignorant. My suggesting you are ignorant is not an insult. Everyone is ignorant of something and everyone has the ability to become aware of the truth. In fact, my suggesting you are ignorant when it comes to reckless people is more of a compliment, because I am assuming you are intelligent enough to truly learn the truth. Having said that, I am wondering how you served in the military and still naively believe that every single vet has fired a weapon to protect himself or others? I know that is not true. I believe you know that too. Your solution to security, giving the weapons to vets who are unemployed is certainly within the realm of possibility, but with my knowledge and expertise in the mental health system, I know that through no fault of their own, there are vets who are disabled mentally and would not be safe to put in that position. Blatantly suggesting that just because someone has served in the military means they have fired a gun and is competent is again naive. Slow down Adam.

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