SCC Middle School parents alerted to threat rumor

South Central Calhoun Middle School parents received a letter Thursday informing them of rumors of threatened violence for Friday, and assurance that school officials were investigating the rumors, which had not been substantiated.  

“When a rumor comes in, we investigate, interview with the students that heard about it, communicate with authorities, try to get guidance from them,” Superintendent Jeff Kruse said Thursday afternoon.

He said the investigation came about after students reported hearing the rumors, which had “mushroomed” as the week progressed.

“It started with rumor of a list,” Kruse said. “Nobody’s been able to provide a list.”

He said recent current events – the mass shooting in Las Vegas and reported rumors in other parts of Iowa about school shootings – may have contributed to the rumors. Local law enforcement has been involved in the investigation, Kruse said.

The letter sent to parents was short, but said the rumor appeared to be unsubstantiated.

“The safety of our students and staff is a priority for South Central Calhoun Community School District,” the letter said. “In an effort to provide communication to parents at the SCC Middle School, there have been rumors floating around the middle school that there is an alleged threat to middle school students on Friday, October 13th. School officials and other authorities have been unable to validate the rumored threat and believe that our students are not in any particular kind of danger.”

The email encouraged parents to contact the district office if they had additional questions.
Kruse said school officials handle these kinds of rumors differently than they did 20 years ago. Back then, he said, students claiming they would kill classmates were thought to be threatening injury, not death. Today, with a number of school shootings and other mass shootings on record, school officials take the threat at face value.

He said he and DeMoss did not discuss whether students kept home on Friday would have their absence excused, but he thought they would be.

“Certainly a parent has to make their own parental choice,” Kruse said. “I suspect some will.”