Shooting threat concerns parents

HANCOCK — School shooting comments made by a student last Wednesday brought several concerned parents to the Hancock Schools District Board meeting Monday.

Attendance was large enough that the meeting was moved to the school auditorium where there would be more seats.

The police were made aware of the student’s comments Wednesday night and were at the school the next day to escort the student to the office for an interview upon the student’s arrival, explained Superintendent Kipp Beaudoin.                              

The student did not act on the threat, and the incident occurred before the school shooting in Florida later that day, when 17 people were killed.

The student was not taken into custody, as officers and administrators did not believe there was a threat to student safety after investigating the comments made by the student.

After questioning, the student was sent home during the continued investigation throughout the day.

“We responded very quickly and appropriately,” Beaudoin said. “The best solution that could be found in the moment was found.”

Police remained at the school and in the following days, including Monday.

Beaudoin felt the response was well-handled by both police and administrators, keeping in mind the best interest of all parties involved, including the student.

At the meeting, Beaudoin called for a Safety Committee meeting, and other board members expressed a desire to move building security improvements to the forefront of plans.

Top priorities included more limited entry and increased monitoring of entry areas.

Despite the high parent turnout, Wendy Chynoweth was the only parent to mention the incident during the citizen comment period. Chynoweth expressed concern over accuracy of initial information which stated that the rumor was unfounded.

She also called for the administration to improve parent trust.

“I understand that emotions run high in these situations, but that is why parents need to be able to count on the school to provide us with credible information, especially when it is in regard to our students’ safety,” Chynoweth.

In a Tuesday morning interview with the Daily Mining Gazette, Beaudoin said he felt the initial information was accurate, as it was intended to address the credibility of the threat — not if the threatening statements were made.