Rumors that a gun will be brought to Stoughton High School are prompting an armed police presence at the school today.
The police response includes a security lockdown as well as the cancellation of most after-school events Thursday.
Lieutenant Pat Conlin of Stoughton Police said while there is no credible evidence of a threat, six police officers would be at the school during class hours on Thursday, Friday and possibly Monday.
Conlin said the police presence is mostly so students will feel safe, despite the fact the department does not expect an incident.
“Students don’t feel safe,” Conlin said. “Incidents in schools around the country have something to do with that.”
Stoughton High School Principal Mike Kruse alerted the families of students in a letter Wednesday.
The school district received information from multiple sources about a rumor that someone was planning to bring a gun to school on Friday, Kruse said in the letter.
“We received additional information from various sources, which were all investigated. We are still, at this point, unable to substantiate any of these rumors,” Kruse said.
Kruse asked families to contact anyone in his administration or on the school’s staff with any relevant information about the rumors.
Stoughton High School Superintendent Tim Onsager echoed Kruse’s reassurance that the threat has not been substantiated.
“We haven’t tracked down a source of the rumor,” Onsager said. “Diligent investigation of all rumors like these must be followed through.”
Police interviewed dozens of students Wednesday, leading them to believe the threat may have resulted from statements being taken out of context and spread by rumor, Conlin said.
No incidents or new information were reported by police at the end of the school day, Thursday.
According to Conlin, only the front door of the school will remain unlocked during the day Friday, as it was Thursday. The back door will be guarded by officers during lunch hours to allow students entry and exit at the rear of the building.
The school day starts at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 3:10 p.m. No officers are normally present at the school.
The only after-school event not canceled for Thursday was in the swimming facility, which Conlin said was secured with access independent of the main school building.
According to school officials, a choir concert and cross-country awards banquet will also be held as planned on Friday.
There has never been a serious threat concerning weapons at Stoughton High School or within the school district, according to police and the school district.
While the threat of gun violence may be unusual in Stoughton, Milwaukee Public Schools spokesperson Roseann St. Aubin has experience dealing with violence and threats of violence in a school setting.
“We have a daily police presence at six of our high schools in Milwaukee that deal with personal and/or indirect threats like this. Issues of disorderly conduct and falsifying information carry their own penalties when threats turn out to be untrue,” St. Aubin said.
Referring to Milwaukee Public Schools policy, St. Aubin said expulsion is recommended when threats involve firearms.