Springport Threats Force Balance Between Safety, Schooling

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

"It's an act of terrorism," Jackson County Undersheriff Thomas Finco said. "We are investigating them as though they were an act of terrorism."

Finco says the department has to treat the three threats made to the high school that way: to take them seriously, even though there were no bombs to be found and no harm done to students.

But doing that has meant putting education -- if briefly -- on the back burner.

Two separate times, students from the high school and elementary school were evacuated from the building they share.

"It quite obviously has disrupted the learning environment," Superintendent Roland Pakonen said. "Our students aren't happy about it. Our parents aren't happy about it. And certainly we at the schools aren't happy about it."

So does that mean the school should dismiss the threats as a prank and continue with business as usual?

Pakonen says no.

"Our bottom line is we need to get to the bottom of this and find the perpetrator or perpetrators," he said.

At a packed meeting, parents and students got an update from the department on that front.

"We do have the notes that were left at the scene," Finco said. "They are at the state police crime lab to be processed for handwriting analysis as well as latent prints."

The undersheriff says he believes the threats are the work of a student or students. And the department does have at least one 'person of interest' in the case.

Finco says he's worried that the person or people behind have succeeded in creating a climate of fear.

Joey Bull has a granddaughter in the district.

"She's terrified," Bull said. "She has nightmares."

Still, there's some evidence that if fear is the goal, the threats have not been successful.

"I feel the faculty and the law enforcement (are) doing everything in their power to keep us safe and I don't know what else we can ask for," high school student Casey Ewers said.


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