Topeka High Threat Traced To Facebook

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A threat at Topeka High School that made finals week more stressful is said to have started with a middle schooler's Facebook post.

Associate Principal Robert Hays sent an email to parents saying the threat of impending violence was traced to the social media site. Hays says the student was questioned and admitted to the post.

Extra police officers were at many USD 501 schools because of other non-specific comments about possible violence.

Complete email from THS Associate Principal Robert Hays:

Hello Trojan Nation,

As mentioned we would do in our earlier message this week, this is a follow-up regarding the non-specific rumors of violence spread through Topeka Public Schools this week.

Yesterday, Dr. Wiley and I were informed, while it's not 100% clear it's the starting point, it appears the rumor of violence may have started from a Facebook comment created by a TPS middle school student. This student was questioned by police and the student admitted to writing the comment. Additionally, there is belief that other comments about violent acts and the "End of the World" on Facebook and other social media, may have lead to the rampant rumor mill, yet no specific people have been cited. At this time, it is not clear as to whether there will be any more leads and this is the most substantive information we have. In addition, there have been no new rumors reported since early in the week.

A number of precautions were taken this week up to and including: Campus Police officers worked diligently to investigate each and every comment or concern they were given. They followed up with every individual whose name was mentioned. They investigated each and every lead that they had and communicated or acted swiftly to follow-up. Also to note, Topeka High School was not the only TPS school who had to deal with this problem, and district administration and the Director of School Security were fully aware of our management of this situation. Furthermore, additional security from USD 501 School Police and the Topeka Police Department were provided Friday for ALL Topeka Public Schools. These actions were previously planned, especially at our elementary schools, because of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Three TPD officers from their bicycle unit were assigned to Topeka High and were patrolling our perimeter and surrounding area and were in radio contact with our Campus Police officers (which is standard operating procedure, and something we have always done when warranted). Additional TPD Officers and TPD Voluntary Police were at Topeka High School as well. We greatly APPRECIATE the assistance of the TPD officers at this time as they deal directly with the tragedy within their family.

We are happy to report that Friday was as calm and quiet as anyone would expect. All things being considered, it's possible the day couldn't have been smoother. While there was a noticeable number of students not in attendance, those that were appeared to be in good spirits and carrying out their responsibilities. It seemed apparent that students wanted to be here, felt safe and secure, and trusted it was going to be a fairly ordinary school day.

In addition, our officers Mike, Ken, and Matt couldn't be more appreciated for their dedicated work in investigating, communicating, working with TPD, and ensuring that Topeka High School was a safe place to be, as they always do, particularly in light of their recent loss. It was a very stressful and draining week for them, yet it was very important to them to see us through the week.

We hope that we have provided you the information you need and wanted. We appreciate our students, parents, and all of our Trojan Nation for their dedication and support through this week. Overall, it has been a great first semester to the 2012-2013 school year and we truly look forward to a great second semester! Have a great and safe Holiday Break!

Rob Hays
Associate Principal
Topeka High School


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