Parents unsettled after notice of possible threat at FWCS elementary school

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Some parents at a FWCS elementary school Thursday morning were left unsettled after a recorded phone message was sent out about a possible threat at the school.

School officials say they saw comments on social media early Thursday morning regarding a conversation on the school playground Wednesday. The posts — by several parents — noted that the discussion included suggestions of doing harm to other students.

Those comments prompted administrators to call for a police presence at the school and to send out a recorded phone message about the presence of that officer.

After an investigation, FWCS leaders determined the situation did not pose an actual threat to students or to the school.

However, the situation raised concern among parents, including one woman who tells Fort Wayne’s NBC that she drove to school and removed her son because of the rumors.

She said she wanted more information about the nature of the threat, but the response to her calls to the school and to the FWCS downtown headquarters did not satisfy her.

Two other parents with children in the school also spoke with Fort Wayne’s NBC about how the situation developed. They elected not to remove their children from class.

In a letter from Washington Center Elementary School’s principal, the school says there was little confirmable information about the possible threat, but they say they take every threat seriously.

An investigation found that the remarks were part of a conversation that took place on a playground and did not constitute an actual threat to students.

The school wants to remind parents and students to report anything that makes them feel unsafe.

Here’s the text of the letter sent to parents:

January 17, 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians:

I wanted to follow up with you regarding the phone message we sent this morning. As I stated in the message, we received some information about rumors of a possible threat to Washington Center that prompted us to have police present at school today.

The initial information came from social media and was vague. Regardless of how valid a potential threat sounds, we always take such reports seriously and search for the source of the rumor. In this case, we determined it stemmed from a conversation on the playground that was not an actual threat to students or the school. However, by the time the school day ended and students returned home, it had grown into a much larger story.

We appreciate those who brought this issue to our attention and will remind students that if they hear anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, they should immediately report it to an adult. We ask that you remind your children of this as well, and if they do report something to you that was said at or about the school, please let us know immediately. If it is after hours, and your child reports that a threat was made, please contact the police.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We will continue to strive to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff every day. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the office at 467-6250.

Sincerely,

Keith Goldfuss

Principal

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at Fort Wayne's NBC. She also serves as the weekend producer on NBC.

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