April 17, 2017
Writer: David Payne
What started as possibly idle threats now has six Madison Jr. High School students in trouble and the community taking a new look at security.
The Rexburg Police department held a news conference Monday addressing a recent shooting threat at Madison Jr. High School. Rexburg Police say on April 14, 2017, the parent of a student told police their child had been warned to not got to school on April 20, 2017 because the student was told there was going to be a shooting. Officers and school personnel quickly responded and began an investigation. After interviewing suspects and witnesses, police concluded their investigation and found six students involved. Police say the students had no intentions of committing any acts of violence.
"This entire event began when a juvenile was playing a video game and after losing, commented over the headphones online that he was going to shoot up the school," said Chief Shane Turman from the Rexburg Police Department." We have confirmed with the parents that these juveniles did not have any known access to weapons, and none of the parents kept guns in their homes."
Police say the comments were made in late February and the students had continued to joke about them. One student brought up April 20, knowing it to be a national pot smoking day. Unknown to the students, that date is also the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
Madison School District Assistant Superintendent, Ryan Lords also spoke at the conference saying the districts number one goal is to keep the students and staff safe and protected so they can have a learning experience. The school's principal, school board and the students' parents are working together in discussing how the students will be disciplined.
"I think joking about, or what they preserve to be trying to be funny, about a school shooting incident, they need to understand the seriousness," said Lords. "It's our job to provide discipline but also instruct them on what's appropriate and what's not."
During the news conference both Turman and Lords talked about the importance of families and parents teaching their children to know what to do in similar situations. Lords talked about encouraging students to take lock-down drills seriously. Turman, whose daughter attends Madison Jr. High School, said, "We live in a time where this is not a joking matter. They cannot joke on the smallest level about any kind of violence at schools. We can't tolerate it as a police department and I know the school won't tolerate it."
Police have assured that no students are in harm and, added security will be enforced on April 20 for safety.