As a result of Shawnee High School experiencing a threat last Friday from a note on a bathroom wall, Shawnee police have had an extra police presence on campus all week. On Thursday, police took other proactive measures to ensure campus and student safety by using metal detectors to screen students and bags.
"We have seen multiple handwritten threats against the Shawnee High School this week. We know that some kids may look at these as a prank but any threat against a school is very serious," SPD Chief Mason Willson said. "The people responsible for the threats can be charged with a crime. Any threat received will be taken seriously by the Shawnee Police Department. We do not care if it is a hoax or jokes, we will investigate, find the people responsible and pursue charges."
Wilson said parents and students will see an increased police presence that may also include walk-through metal detectors and officers scanning backpacks or bags.
"The Shawnee Police Department will continue to work closely with school administrators to ensure the safety of the students in Shawnee," he said. "We urge the parents to speak with their kids and stress the seriousness of this type of behavior. If anyone has any information about threats to our local schools, you are urged to contact the Shawnee Police Department without delay."
SHS has a full-time dedicated school resource officer on campus at all times, but there have been extra officers and patrols all this week following last week's threat.
The threatening message came Aug. 17 — the second day of the school year for Shawnee students.
A scribbled note on a girls' bathroom wall prompted the district to contact Shawnee police, although the school wasn't placed on lockdown that afternoon.
Cherity Pennington, spokeswoman for Shawnee Public Schools, released a statement regarding the incident and the message also was placed on the district's website. She said the same message was released to parents through the automated phone call system.
“...Shawnee High School officials found a scribbled message on a girls’ restroom wall listing a future date for a school shooting with the message, 'you’ve been warned,'” the statement reads.
“High school administrative staff and police immediately began investigating this matter to determine if the threat was credible. Since the date indicated was in the future, it was determined that there was no immediate danger to our students or need to lock down the campus,” the statement continued.
As a result of the note, she said students and parents would notice an increased police presence on the SHS campus, which is also what prompted the use of metal detectors on Thursday.
Watch for updates.