Crime & Courts

Maize High teacher charged with criminal threat

Prosecutors on Friday charged a Maize High School teacher with a criminal threat involving an assistant principal, and a judge ordered that he not have any contact with school staff and not go on any Maize district property.

Now that school is out, the bond for the defendant, James R. Stiverson, is being reduced from $250,000 to $25,000, Judge Warren Wilbert said during Stiverson’s first court appearance Friday afternoon. Wilbert said Stiverson also will be under electronic monitoring if he is released on bond.

The charge, a felony, alleges that on Tuesday, Stiverson “did then and there unlawfully threaten to commit violence, communicated with intent to place another in fear, to-wit: Julie D. Cannizzo, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such fear.” Cannizzo is a Maize High assistant principal.

School district spokeswoman Karen McDermott said late Friday afternoon, after Stiverson had been charged, that there has been no change in Stiverson’s employment status with the district.

A protective order filed in court Friday said Stiverson is restrained from having contact with Cannizzo and all Maize High administrators and faculty and is prohibited from being on any district property.

Stiverson, who wore an orange jail jumpsuit in his court appearance, via a video link from the jail, said he planned to hire a private attorney. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Stiverson asked Wilbert if he would be able to attend a drill at Fort Riley on the three days following his June 6 preliminary hearing. The judge said that would be up to his pretrial services supervisor.

Stiverson, 39, has been held in jail since he was booked Wednesday morning.

In an e-mail to parents Wednesday, the school principal said the incident involved “disturbing comments … about violence toward the school.” In a news release, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said the case involves “the teacher making comments to school administrators during a sporting event,” a soccer match, at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Stiverson is listed on the district website as being a social studies and physical education teacher and assistant baseball coach.

In the notification to parents Wednesday, school principal Chris Botts said: “Last night a school employee was arrested after making some disturbing comments to another staff member about violence toward the school. The threat was immediately turned over to our district police and local law enforcement for further investigation.” District police searched the school building and found “no indication that the threat that was made by the staff member was valid,” the principal’s e-mail said.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle