Oakwood parents to get letters about grade school threat

Oakwood parents to get letters about grade school threat

DANVILLE – Parents will get letters today from school officials regarding a threatening message at Oakwood Grade School that was found Wednesday in a bathroom stall.

A student has been disciplined over the threat.

Oakwood Superintendent Keven Forney said a student found the message.

"It had no names or anything specific," Forney said.

The note was general and threatened violence on every student in the building, Forney said, but did not include specific dates, times or names.

Officials immediately notified an off-duty Vermilion County sheriff's deputy who was there speaking with a class. The deputy called in an investigator. The Oakwood Police Department was also called.

The incident was investigated thoroughly, Forney said.

"We didn't feel like it was a serious threat," he said.

Instead, the message appeared to be from a student who was looking for a reaction, Forney said.

"We'll keep an eye on the situation, monitor it and pursue disciplinary issues," Forney said.

Principal William Taylor said the message, written in ink, was investigated by local law enforcement officers who deemed it not to be credible.

"Our investigation narrowed it down to a specific person, and disciplinary action has been taken," Taylor said Wednesday.

Teachers were notified via e-mail during the investigation and Taylor met with them personally after school dismissed.

If it had been a credible threat, the school would have been locked down.

The grade school has 650 students and 45 certified staff, Forney said.

School staff has taken crisis training to assess situations like this, he said. Credible threats can include specific information, such as targets and dates.

"You can have a student write anything on the wall," Forney said. "But we don't want to be foolish and put our kids and staff at risk.

"We have to really ask ourselves, 'Do you think this is a threat that is telling something that is going to happen in one of our schools'?" he said.

In this case, it wasn't, he said.

"We've never had a situation quite like this," he said.

Taylor said letters will be going home with students today explaining what happened and how staff are going to handle it.

Family members of students can call 354-4221 for information.