Our most important function in (School District) is to provide the safest learning environment possible for all of our students and school staff members.
Unfortunately, in recent years, Kentucky’s P-12 schools have experienced an escalation of terroristic threats being made by students with intent to do harm to either other students or school staff members. Plainly stated, these are threats being made to shoot people or detonate bombs with lethal intent. In fact, between January 23 and April 30th of last school year (2018), Kentucky schools experienced (294) terroristic threats that caused widespread fear throughout the school’s community and resulted in total disruption to the educational process. In many of those cases, school officials and law enforcement officials were forced to close schools to investigate the threats that had been made. In other cases, school attendance plummeted for days after the threat was made. Many school leaders have said that the emotional, instructional, and financial impacts of these acts are incalculable.
Terroristic Threatening in the second degree is defined in state law (KRS 508.078)
(1) A person is guilty of terroristic threatening in the second degree when, other than as provided in KRS 508.075, he or she intentionally:
b) Makes false statements by any means, including by electronic communication, for the purpose of:
1. Causing evacuation of a school building, school property, or school-sanctioned activity;
2. Causing cancellation of school classes or school-sanctioned activity; or
3. Creating fear of serious bodily harm among students, parents, or school personnel
(For the complete text for KRS 508.078 please see the attached page.)
Such threats to our students and school staff are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. As a result, the purpose of this letter is to notify all parents and guardians that school district officials (in coordination with responding law enforcement agencies) will pursue immediate legal charges for felony terroristic threatening in the second degree, to the absolute fullest extent of the law, against anyone who makes such threats, including students. Moreover, we will advocate to our highest ability that the prosecution of these individuals be swift and their punishment be severe.
Our approach to eliminating terroristic threatening in our school and district is strong and unwavering, and as a result, it is imperative that you discuss this critically important matter with your student as soon as possible. School and law enforcement officials are determined to put a halt to these willful acts of terrorism being made toward our students. Please do your part to ensure that your student never becomes a party to such an offense by educating him/her on the seriousness of its consequences.
Together we can prevent this unnecessary, dangerous, and disruptive crime from victimizing our schools. I appreciate your partnership in keeping our school the safest place for your student to learn and grow. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at your convenience.
Dr. John Gunn, Principal of Hopkinsville High School