Gateway: News

Pair of threats to PSD schools turn out to be unfounded

A pair of threats of aggressive acts toward two different Peninsula School District schools last week both turned out to be unfounded.

The first threat, which occurred late Dec. 12, happened after a student at Harbor Ridge Middle School received via social media what she perceived to be a threat of an aggressive act against her school.

She reported the threat to her parents, who called the Gig Harbor Police Department.

Officers obtained the initial investigative facts and immediately notified the school district about the potential threat.

Additional information made it appear as though the threat was not credible, however, the department still took all available steps to eliminate the possibility, Chief Kelly Busey said.

Overnight, GHPD officers used several investigative resources to determine the origin of the threat, eventually identifying a 13-year old male in the state of Georgia as being responsible for the threat.

In cooperation with a law enforcement agency in that state, law enforcement officials contacted the boy and his parents, who took immediate action to intervene.

The boy admitted that he had sent the message and we concluded that the threat was not viable at any point, Busey said.

The other incident happened the morning of Dec. 14 at Gig Harbor High School.

According to Gig Harbor police, after being rejected by a female sophomore classmate, a senior male proceeded to rant to a classmate, who then turned on his phone and started recording the rant.

“Somewhere in the rant, the student mentioned something about shooting up the school,” Busey said.

The friend then posted the video of the rant to an online chat community, where two other Gig Harbor High students saw it and reported it to school officials.

The student was arrested 24 hours later and taken to Remann Hall in Tacoma, Busey said.

Although PSD school officials couldn’t address the specific incident, spokeswoman Kathy Weymiller said the district’s policy is immediate expulsion when it comes to shooting threats.

“In the spirit of ‘If you see something, say something,’ kudos to the students who reported the threat,” Principal Tom Leacy wrote in a letter posted online to Gig Harbor parents. “Regardless of intent, such threats are taken seriously.”

Out of an abundance of caution, the school’s district resource officer and Gig Harbor police were a steady presence on the campus late last week, Leacy said.