A Rundown of Events from Last Week’s Threat

Bergen Cornelius, Staff Writer

On Monday, February 19th Madison Consolidated High School students and staff had an unusual day with one threat against administrators and another alleged threat against an administrator. Class sizes shrunk on Monday with over 300 students leaving throughout the day, over concern for their safety. Nonetheless, the day went on as planned for everyone across the school with no other interruptions.

MCHS Principal Michael Gasaway got a call at 7:27 a.m. from a parent whose child heard about the threat from another student, who received this information from another student at MCHS claiming that they had seen a threat against the school. Right after Principal Gasaway and other administrators got the call from the parent, the police were notified and on the scene. Officer Jacob McVey was the first officer to know of the situation and was comprised of the information at 7:28 a.m, just one minute after the call. Allegedly, the threat was on Facebook, but when school administrators asked the student to pull it up for evidence, it was nowhere to be found. This threat was deemed not credible, but as this investigation was dying down, there was word of a new threat. Sometime within the 8:30 timeframe, MCHS now had a total of two alleged threats for Monday the 19th.

MCHS Resource Officer Jacob McVey (left) with MCHS Assistant Principal Jill Deputy (right)

Doors open every morning at 6:30 for student drop off, and by the time the first threat had been received it was almost 7:30. By this time every morning there will be approximately 400 of the 899 students already at school and preparing for their day of learning. This is one of many reasons why the response time of the police was so vital to the pending investigation and students and staff throughout the school district. From the time of the threat until the time to go home there were at least eight different cops at the school roaming the halls looking for anything out of the ordinary. Since this incident occurred, changes are underway. Now doors do not open until 7 a.m. for all students in the building, and they are supervised by at least one adult.

“Monday was the safest day to be at school, with all of the police officers and and extra cushion from students and staff,” Gasaway said.

At 8:20 Monday morning, a SnapChat threat was discovered and under investigation by local police and the school. By 8:30 details were known on what it stated. This information was given by many witnesses who saw the events take place.

The second threat was actually posted on SnapChat on Friday and then later seen by a student form MCHS. Word of this criminal activity was not passed on to anyone until Monday morning, three days after the threat was posted. The quote from the juvenile, was aimed at two administrators and one local authority personal. Therefore no student or school was in immediate danger from the alleged perpetrator. The threat was posted from a current student at MCHS but was, at the time, suspended from all school activities. Under protection of privacy laws, the name of this student can not be released.

Around 8:45 a.m. the authorities paid a visit to the student’s home whom was later arrested at 12:00 p.m. He is now being charged with intimidation and escape. The intimidation charge came from the threat he placed on staff at MCHS and the escape charge came from a previous criminal offense where this particular student left his home while being under home incarceration.

Madison Consolidated School district would like the help of students across the district to stay vigilant. No matter how small something may seem, always say something. Officials say that from now on, tell a trusted adult as soon as you know rather than waiting until it’s too late.

MCHS never officially went on lockdown but just high alert throughout the morning and until all threats were cleared. The administration team wanted to make it clear that at no point was it ever necessary to go under lock down since there was no hard evidence of either threat. The team said they would have gone under lockdown immediately if there was evidence of an immediate, credible threat.

All staff has been trained in a new and approved security preparation strategy called A.L.I.C.E., an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate for all situations. The staff is trained by Officer McVey who is the resource officer for Madison Consolidated High School and a few of the elementary schools.

MCHS Agriculture teachers Amanda Briggs and Kelsey Eisert said, “We think both the staff and student body were very proactive about the cascade of events that went down on Monday morning. (We) felt like there was less drama in this situation than in the past. We train for instances like this and through that training we become more prepared for what can happen next.”

Principal Gasaway is sympathetic with MCHS parents, however. During the interview, Gasaway mentioned the “Gracie effect.” Gracie is the name of one of his daughters who is currently enrolled in Madison Junior High School. Gasaway then went on to say that he would treat everyone like they’re his children and do everything he could to get them out of the school safely.

MCHS Principal Michael Gasaway