Schools, Police Issue Statement on VHS Threat

By on December 9, 2019

Verona Police Department logoVerona Public Schools and the Verona Police Department sent out the following email this morning:

Dear Verona Parents, Students, Staff, and Community Members,

Each and every day, our parents entrust us with the safety of their children. Both the Verona Public Schools and the Verona Police Department do not take this responsibility lightly.

As previously shared, the Verona Public Schools administration received information that an electronic communication was made last night referencing a threat to Verona High School. In less than 1 hour of being made aware of the post, the Verona Police located the juvenile and took him into custody. The juvenile is a Verona High School student and resident who was charged with creating a False Public Alarm, a 2nd degree crime. An exhaustive search was performed of the home and school, both physically and electronically, and there was no firearm located, nor was there any access to a firearm. The Verona Police Department assured the Verona Public Schools that our schools are safe for students to attend.

In an effort to calm fears and quell the rumor mill, while protecting the student’s Constitutional due process rights, there was never any manifesto or planned plot to attack Verona High School or any other school. The alleged electronic statement was made in a private group chat amongst juveniles discussing an apparent previous theft.

The Verona Police Department’s investigation has found no co-conspirators and the juvenile charged is the only person who made any reference to violence. This one individual student allegedly posted a text and that student was taken into custody. The parents of the student are fully cooperating with the Verona Police Department.

In similar situations involving the safety and security of our schools, the school district reserves the right to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, the Verona Public Schools may engage the full range of school discipline up to and including expulsion, to ensure the safety of all of our students, staff, and the Verona community.

We caution the community to be mindful of what they post and share on social media, as demonstrated last night, which has been known to spread false or exaggerated information, further creating panic and anxiety within the community. Please also keep in mind the potential emotional damage social media posts and rumors may cause.

The Verona Police and the Verona Public Schools take these types of threats very seriously. The Verona Police Department is confident there is no active threat to any school in Verona. Please know that different actions would have been taken had this threat been deemed credible.

We understand that situations such as this may cause stress and/or anxiety. The Verona Public School district has counseling available for any student at all grade levels in our schools. Please contact your school principal if you see any signs indicating that your child may need counseling support.

We appreciate all community members who brought this information to our attention, especially our students and parents. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

Sincerely,
Dr. Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools
Chief Chris Kiernan
Verona Police Department

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