BELTON, Mo. -- Threats of violence against two local schools have parents on edge -- including one social media post that promised to "shoot up a school."
There's enough concern that some parents are holding their kids out of extracurricular activities. District leaders in Belton say there have been seven threats, and one of those promised violence comparable to the mass shooting in Columbine.
“Roses are red. Violets are blue. February 15th is going to be Columbine part two..."
That's poetry that could be a serious threat, and it's the kind of concern school leaders at Belton High School -- and Belton Middle School are facing. This week alone there have been two threats, including graffiti on a girls' bathroom wall -- promising to kill security guards at the school.
“Anytime a threat of violence has been brought to our attention, we have to address that,” said Belton Schools Superintendent Dr. Andrew Underwood.
Dr. Underwood says six students in all face suspension for this series of threats -- some of which have been posted to social media.
“We've had comments made they were going to shoot up the school. They were going to try kill security officers. You name it. Any threat of violence is unacceptable, regardless of who their target is. We want our kids to feel safe here at school,” he said.
The string of seven threats started February 6 when Jashon Taylor -- a 17-year old Belton High School student -- threatened to shoot up the school because he was angry about the outcome of the Super Bowl. He's charged with making a terroristic threat.
Dr. Underwood sent this message home to parents:
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community,
I’m sad to report we have received a 7th threat this morning (Feb. 16th) in a girls’ bathroom at the high school. The threat states: “You really think security will stop us, Feb. 15, 2017 was just a distraction, we will see how many security we need to kill”. We are having adults escort students in the hallways and we have had an increased level of administration and police in the building. This is a disturbing message and will once again be taken seriously.
So, what does serious mean? Long term suspensions, up to 180 school days, charges filed locally at Belton, and then the case being referred to the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office for further criminal prosecution. I cannot state it enough; this is not a joke, nor a laughing matter. This is causing unrest amongst our students and staff in these buildings. The police and administration are meeting with all students trying to get the point across, this is not acceptable behavior and we will be vigilant in finding the individuals responsible. Please help us in putting a stop to this inappropriate behavior. Thank you for helping in this serious matter!
Sincerely in Education,
Dr. Andrew Underwood
Superintendent of Schools