Online threat aimed at schools
Police presence boosted
By Scott Bellile
Law enforcement investigated a “concerning” social media message involving the Hortonville Area School District last weekend, according to HASD Superintendent Todd Timm.
“Sunday, Feb. 18, the Hortonville Area School District was made aware of a possible threat through social media communication,” Timm stated in an automated voicemail sent to HASD parents that afternoon. “The threat did not specify individuals or buildings in the district. Law enforcement was contacted immediately. Through the law enforcement investigation, the threat was found to not be credible. As a precaution, there will be additional law enforcement presence in the school district on Monday, Feb. 19.”
Without providing detail on the social media message, Timm told the Press Star that the threat was reported to HASD by an adult on Sunday morning.
As for the student whose post spurred the police investigation, “The school will have to look at appropriate consequences for the behavior,” Timm said.
Classes carried on Monday without disruption, save for an early dismissal at noon due to approaching freezing rain.
Timm contacted HASD parents again on Monday to share the school buildings’ safety procedures as well as talking points for family discussions on school shootings.
Timm said he did not review attendance numbers to determine if absences increased in light of the threat.
The post was reported four days after a 19-year-old gunman killed 14 students and three employees at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The attack was the fourth deadliest school shooting in modern U.S. history.
Timm encouraged HASD students and adults to report any suspicious social media activity they see.
“Students have to feel safe in the school environment and able to learn,” Timm said. “That has to be our No. 1 priority.”
A week earlier, Hortonville Police Sgt. Brian Bahr provided a three-minute school resource officer presentation to the Hortonville School Board on Feb. 12. He said the number of police incidents in HASD schools is “on pace from past years” and none of the numbers appear to be “alarming.”
HASD contracts with the Hortonville Police Department to have two SROs patrol its six schools in Hortonville and Greenville. Bahr is the full-time SRO while Officer Bryan Hauser works part-time.