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Overheard threat prompts middle school police presence

MONROE — Monroe police are keeping an eye on Monroe Middle School this week after faculty members on Friday afternoon "thought they heard someone yell in a stairwell" about "a shooting on Monday," said Monroe Chief of Police Fred Kelley.
Officers were posted Monday morning at entrances at the school. Kelley said the police presence will continue this week as his department works with the school district to "get to the bottom" of the incident.

Kelley said the school district advised police Sunday that during the period just before school ended Friday afternoon, "some staff from the middle school thought they heard someone yell in a stairwell between classes something about a shooting on Monday," he said.

"Nobody recognized the voice," he said. Staff members spent Saturday combing through surveillance video footage trying to figure out who may have been in the stairwell at the time but "were not able to identify who might have said this or who might have heard it."

"What we arranged for is an increased police presence," Kelley said. "The best way to handle it was to err on the side of caution. We'll keep an eye on the place for the next few days."

On Monday morning, officers stood at entrance points so students had to pass by them and staff while arriving for school.

No other threat or suspicious activity leading up to this has been reported at the middle school in recent weeks, Kelley said.

What staff members heard "could have been a joke, or part of a conversation that included something else ... They could have been talking about a video game," he said. The stairwells get noisy and echo, he noted.
But, "it could be a threat, so we treated it as one."

District Administrator Rick Waski sent an email addressing parents and guardians late Monday morning explaining that the increased police presence was a “result of a verbal threat of school violence made by a student, that was overheard by staff members on Friday.”

Waski said in the email the decision to increase police presence was made, despite the threat’s credibility being low.

“The School District of Monroe holds the safety of our students and staff at the highest priority,” Waski wrote. “Even though we feel this is a low level threat, we feel that increasing law enforcement and administrative presence today as a precautionary measure is the best decision for our students and staff.”

Those who may have information that could help determine the source of the threat should call Mr. Boehm, Monroe Middle School principal, at 608-328-7270 or the Monroe Police Department at 608-329-2400.