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Student arrested, suspended after threatening posts

3:17 PM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
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The student was suspended from school until the investigation is complete.

According to the Center Consolidated School District 26JT, he is in Saguache County Jail after being questioned by police. 

"We have spent the day investigating to determine whether or not the student actually had intent to commit a crime, and/or the capability to do so," Superintendent George Welsh said. "As of now, his cellphone has been searched, his email account has been searched, and his place of residence has been searched. We will also search his laptop as soon as it is retrieved. Additionally, the Center Police Department has been questioning a number of our students to determine whether or not this particular child's behavior has been exhibited beyond this, so far, isolated incident."

So far, no evidence of guns or access to guns has been found, according to Welsh. 

The student posted many suspicious sentences on a Facebook thread, including "get the guns first," "go all Massachusetts on the school" and "u know im [sic] crazy enough to do it I got the cojones." Later in the thread, the student suggested a classroom to start in.

Skoglund Middle School principal Carrie Zimmerman was the one who contacted police. Kevin Jones, principal at Center High School, helped with the investigation.

The following note was sent to all school staff after the student was apprehended:

Good Evening Folks

I'm writing this email tonight to communicate with you about something unfortunate that happened today in relation to our school. A Center High School student posted a statement on Facebook that led us to believe that he could possibly be threatening to commit a violent act against the school.

Fortunately a heads-up staff member, upon seeing the post, made the school administration aware of the situation.

In reaction to the post our building administration notified the police. As we understand things at this moment in time the student was contacted and has been booked into the Rio Grande County Jail. I have been assured by authorities that a full search, investigation, and mental health assessment will be taking place.

I want everyone to know it is likely the student was just doing this as a prank. However, in light of recent events surrounding violent acts on school campuses we are addressing the situation very seriously, keeping in mind the safety of our students and staff members.

I'm sending this communication just to make sure that you hear about this situation from us, as opposed to the rumor mill. Additionally, we have been told that as a precautionary measure there will be a greater than normal law enforcement presence on campus when you arrive in the morning.

We'll no doubt be spending a lot of time during the day on Wednesday to sort all of this out to make a decision as to how to proceed that is best for the safety of the school community. Additionally, I have a child who attends the district and I am fully confident that any threat has been addressed. She will be riding her bike to school and attending as normal.

Contact me if you have any questions about this.
George

Welsh clarified later on the long-term outlook in relation to the incident.

"If somehow evidence comes forth showing the student was intending to do what he said he would do, we can rest assured that the District Attorney will punish him to the full extent of the law. If it turns out he simply made a seriously irresponsible comment, as appears to be the case, we as a district will work to ensure he understands the enormity of his actions, receives appropriate consequences, and gets the services he needs to serve out his punishment and begin moving forward with his life in a positive direction. In either circumstance we will also want to use this incident as a teachable moment for the rest of our students, specifically helping them to understand that making such threats to individuals or groups of people, orally or through digital means, is simply wrong and can lead to a whole heap of trouble."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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