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Overland Park school shooting message now district’s 3rd threat of violence this year

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Parents with students who attend Westridge Middle School in Overland Park are worried after a note threatened a school shooting.

Last week, students reported a threat written on a bathroom stall to school officials. The threat warned of a school shooting that would take place on October 22nd.

"We notified the Overland Park Police Department, along with our own SMSD police, and together worked with them to investigate," a letter sent to parents from the school's principal, Jeremy McDonnell, states. "The threat has been investigated, and we are confident that there is no on-going danger to the school."

A spokesperson for the Shawnee Mission School District was not available for an on-camera interview.

Although the letter from the school's principal told parents the students were safe, Anna Bishop and other parents were still worried about the threat. She kept her seventh-grade daughter home from school today, and she said some of her daughter's classmates were also absent.

"We are only three months into the school year, and we've had three different threats of gun violence so far," Bishop said. "That's my biggest thought and concern."

In September, Westridge Middle School's Principal contacted parents about a potential online threat that was determined to be not credible. Earlier this month, police arrested a 13-year-old student at the school. She was accused of making a threat by pointing her finger like a gun.

"I think they need to find out what the problem is," Bishop said. "Why are the students making the threats ? Why is this happening? I think that's where it needs to start."

Read the full text of the letter sent to parents below: 

"I am writing to let you know about an incident that we have been dealing with today here at Westridge. We were made aware, through one of our students, of a threat, written on a bathroom stall here at the school. We notified the Overland Park Police Department, along with our own SMSD police, and together worked with them to investigate. The threat has been investigated, and we are confident that there is no on-going danger to the school.

We will continue to be vigilant, to make sure that our school remains safe. I want to express my appreciation to all who were involved in managing this incident, including building and district staff and the Overland Park Police Department. I also want to express my appreciation to our students, who quickly shared information with administration when they learned of it.

This is an excellent time to remind our students that “If you see something, say something.” We take every “threat” seriously, including those made casually or in jest. This would be a good time to remind your child that, in today’s world, it is never okay to joke about violence or the threat of violence. Meanwhile, we will continue to do everything in our power keep Westridge a safe and nurturing school environment." - Jeremy McDonnell

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