RONAN – An additional law enforcement presence could be seen on Thursday at the middle and high school in Ronan after a school shooting threat was made on Wednesday.
MTN News talked with Ronan Schools Superintendent Mark Johnston about the situation.
“We really pride ourselves on making sure that our kids are as safe as possible. We know kids can’t learn if they’re not if they don’t feel safe,” Johnston told MTN News.
The Ronan School District was on Wednesday that a student made a comment to another student they were going to shoot up the high school the next day. The threat was overheard by others.
“We didn’t find out about it until last night when kids started talking about it on social media,” Johnston explained. “So, as soon as my high school principal got word of it, he immediately contacted Lake County law enforcement who went and did an investigation right away.”
Johnston said that Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies found the student later that evening and informed them they would not be allowed on campus.
An increased police presence could be seen Thursday on campus and the doors were locked at the high school and middle school. Students were excused if their parents decided to keep them home for the day following the threat.
Parents shared their worries with MTN News that the middle and high schools do not have a buzz-in entry system for entry as the elementary school does.
“The elementary school is secured with locked doors and admitted entrance through a buzzer system. Why is the same procedure not followed in the middle school and high school? Is this a cost issue or is there another reason for lack of security?” asked parent Nicole Callahan.
“The middle school and high school are easily entered by anyone and only one SRO for the schools. Our kids don’t feel safe and our schools aren’t doing enough to make sure they feel secure,” added parent Kiera Sias.
“Currently, we’re gonna look at that in the middle school. It’s already, it’s already in the process., Johnston told MTN News. “The high school, we’re not sure about that at this time because we don’t really have that same type of area.”
Parents were also concerned about what they said was a lack of information in Ronan’s early announcement.
“I do appreciate the Ronan School District’s communication to parents and families, though it was minimal. It was difficult making a decision on my children’s safety without knowing all of the facts of the situation, or at least the facts that could be provided,” Nicole Callahan stated. “I understand with an active investigation they can’t provide critical information to protect their investigation, but more was needed to ease my worry as a parent. An update of the risk being mitigated was not provided until after school started this morning, delaying my decision on what to do.”
“We weren’t given any info but there was a threat made nor do they have much of a safety plan, Sias pointed out.
Superintendent Johnston said in response, “One thing when you have these situations, you really have to try to evaluate what you can release, what you can’t release. You have individual’s privacy. So, we have a lot to take in.” Superintendent Johnston explains they shared threat details through text, schools’ website, and social media, as soon as they were fully informed.
“Once we had an opportunity today to sit down and look at it, talk to the Sheriff’s Department, see exactly what they had happen over the night, or through their conversation, then we were able to give a bit more information.”
Ronan will continue to do the necessary emergency drills.
“We’re gonna do what we have to to protect our kids, our staff, and everybody who comes in contact with our school,” Superintendent Johnston concluded.