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Goddard Middle School student suspended after writing threatening note

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, at 1 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at 12:46 p.m.

Goddard school’s letter to parents

The letter sent home to parents and guardians of the school’s students reads:

“This afternoon we were made aware of a situation that could potentially have been threatening to some Goddard Middle School students. Some of our students learned of the situation and immediately notified their teacher, and the principal and counselor were then advised of the situation. The school officials took prompt action to avert inappropriate activity from occurring.

“We are grateful that those who learned of the situation took appropriate steps to notify school officials so prompt action could be taken. The situation is being investigated by school administration and the USD 265 Police Department and is being handled in accordance with school district policies and procedures.

“We know that news of this nature can be unsettling; however, we want you to know that there was no immediate physical threat to students or staff, and the situation was neutralized expeditiously. It is also important to know that there is no ongoing threat. Please be assured that the safety and security of our students and staff is always our highest priority. We take every potential threat seriously and take appropriate action to follow up on the information provided to us.

“If you have questions, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at lhogarth@goddardusd.com, or by phone at 794-4230. Please understand, however, that we cannot share further details about the situation or the ongoing police investigation.”

A 14-year-old Goddard Middle School student has been suspended after he wrote a threatening note, officials said.

In a letter sent home Tuesday with middle school students, Principal Lisa Hogarth said “there was no immediate physical threat to students or staff, and the situation was neutralized expeditiously.”

The eighth-grade student wrote the note, then threw it in the trash, Goddard School District Police Chief Ronny Lieurance said. Two other students saw what he had done and dug out the paper to see what it said.

When the students read what was written, they took the note to their teacher, Lieurance said. The teacher then notified Hogarth.

“He’s been placed on short-term suspension” pending an expulsion hearing, Lieurance said. “Beyond that, I don’t know what will happen.”

The student could be expelled from school for 186 school days – essentially the equivalent of a school year.

Recent school shootings illustrate how times have changed, Lieurance said.

“We live in a very sensitive society with regard to threats,” he said. “It’s a very scary time for parents and students alike.”

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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