For the fourth time this school year, a threat at one of Chanute’s schools has been reported and investigated.
Officials from USD 413, the Chanute Police Department and the Neosho County Attorney’s office conducted a school safety investigation regarding Royster Middle School on Monday. The situation was deemed to be a credible threat after the investigation took place.
Superintendent Dr. Kellen Adams said that this case was a single student who had threatened violence against other specific students at RMS. He said that mental health staff had alerted the district Friday night, but at the onset it did not appear to be a credible threat.
“Our initial information Friday night was very piecemeal,” he said. “Monday morning when we began going through our threat protocol, we got a lot more information and it was determined to be a substantive threat.”
District policy differs between a substantive threat and what is referred to as a transient threat. For a threat to be substantiated, it would need to be a serious and sustained threat and the perpetrator could have access to means of carrying it out.
The other previous threats of violence at RMS that were made about the entire school had been deemed transient threats, as the students involved did not have the means to take any sort of action made in the alleged threats.
All situations regarding school safety are taken very seriously until proven otherwise. Adams asserted that disciplinary actions for a substantive threat were very different from the others as they created a far greater interruption to the learning environment for those involved.
“Rest assured, actions are being taken relating to the student involved at a higher level,” Adams said.
Adams said that parents of the students who were threatened had all been notified about the investigation as of Tuesday afternoon. State statute does not require the district to notify parents, but district administrators felt it was the right thing to do.
“On a personal level, if this was my child I would want to be made aware,” Adams said. “We as a district want to be fully transparent.”
The commitment to transparency is why Adams believes it is necessary to keep the public informed about every threat that goes on in the district. He is committed to ensuring that the district always communicates with the public.
“Especially when it comes to public safety, we have a high obligation to make the community aware of what is going on,” he said.
“I would rather take grief for being over reactive or over communicative, rather than have something really bad happen because we did not release the information.”