CPS sends home letter, will increase security in response to threat rumors
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools sent home a letter to parents Tuesday addressing rumors about possible threats.
CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman said the letter was to provide accurate information and to discourage rumors.
The letter discussed rumors of "a possible planned violent act at Battle High School – mostly in the form of a gun being brought to campus or a possible shooting" being the reason the letter was sent out.
CPS Spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said the rumors reached a level where the district needed to address the behavior with parents.
Both the letter and Baumstark stressed that after an investigation by CPS and local law enforcement there is "absolutely no evidence to support such rumors."
CPS said to assure students, parents and teachers feel safe, "there will be additional safety personnel on-hand for the last day and a half of school."
This is the full letter sent home to parents:
Dear Parent or Guardian,
I am sending this letter in order to provide you with accurate information, to discourage rumors and to ask for your assistance. There have been rumors and chatter regarding a possible planned violent act at Battle High School – mostly in the form of a gun being brought to campus or a possible shooting. As with all threats, Columbia Public Schools and law enforcement have thoroughly investigated and have determined there is absolutely no evidence to support such rumors.
We take the safety and security of our schools and students very seriously. We will not tolerate threats of any nature, especially when they cause disruption to the school day and result in countless hours of work to determine their validity and secure the safety of students and staff.
The statements and rumors being spread verbally and on social media constitute terroristic threats and are subject to punishment according to Board of Education policy, which could include, but is not limited to, expulsion from the school district. Students need to be aware that law enforcement agencies are taking these threats very seriously and are pursuing prosecution even when such incidents are intended as pranks. Please make sure your child is aware of these ramifications and that he or she understands hoaxes and spreading rumors related to campus safety will not be tolerated.
We need to come together as a community of students, parents and school personnel to avoid such disruptions to learning. I urge you to talk to your children now and impress upon them the seriousness of threats in today’s society. Ask them to notify you or the school should they hear of any planned or potential disruptive behavior. We want everyone to feel safe at school, so there will be additional safety personnel on-hand for the last day and a half of school.
The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, and we will continue to be vigilant. Please feel free to call my office or the school directly should you have any questions or comments.
I appreciate your continued support of a safe learning environment for our students.
Columbia Public Schools