‘Not credible:’ Additional officers at Germantown schools after potential threat

Germantown Police Department

GERMANTOWN — There was an extra police presence at Germantown High School and Kennedy Middle School Tuesday, Dec. 3 after a “potential gun threat.” Police determined these were “not credible threats” and classes were not impacted.

According to the police, around 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, Germantown High School administrators were made aware of a potential gun threat to Germantown High School for Tuesday. This was followed by a similar threat to Kennedy Middle School at 8 p.m.

Village of Germantown police were contacted and detectives launched investigations regarding both incidents. Based upon information obtained and verified by approximately 3 a.m., police were able to identify the individual responsible for initiating the threats.

“Again, Germantown Police Department and Germantown School District Officials believe that these are not credible threats and that Germantown School District students will be safe at our schools,” said Jeff Holmes, superintendent of Germantown School District. “As an additional assurance, additional GPD officers and Washington County sheriff’s deputies will be on our campuses for extra security.”

Holmes sent the following letter to parents:

“Let me begin by thanking everyone for their patience and understanding while we worked through this difficult and challenging situation. I especially thank the Germantown Police Department and SRO Pierce for their assistance with this matter. As a result of law enforcement, KMS administrative team, KMS staff, and KMS students’ efforts and cooperation to address the potential of a school threat, I am able to confidently report that a true threat did not exist . The individual who posted on Snapchat acted upon information that was patently incorrect. While I do appreciate that we were made aware of this, my hope is that parents will work with their children to reinforce in them the need to bring these types of situations forward to adults at school as quickly as possible so that the adults can respond more quickly with less peripheral influences. If you become aware of something during non-school hours, immediately contact law enforcement and report it – certainly remember, “See/hear something; say something;” however, saying or reporting it on social media is not the most-advisable or best-practice way to express it.

Again, Germantown School District and Germantown Police Department Officials believe that the Snapchat message indicated a threat that did not exist and that KMS students will continue to be safe at school.”

Holmes shared this update with parents on Tuesday afternoon:

“This is Jeff Holmes, Superintendent of Germantown School District. This is the follow-up email to this morning’s Blackboard Connect and other messages.”

“Let me begin by thanking everyone for their patience and understanding while we worked through this difficult and challenging situation. I especially thank the Germantown Police Department and Chief Hoell for their assistance with this matter. As a result of law enforcement, GHS administrative team, GHS staff, and GHS/KMS students’ and parents’ efforts and cooperation to address the potential of a school threat, I am able to confidently report that a true threat did not exist. The individual who was deemed as responsible for causing this event will be subject to the rules and regulations associated with the conduct of this type; both school and law enforcement based.”

“While I do appreciate that we were made aware of this and we are able to work through this event, my additional hope is that parents will work with their children to reinforce in them the need to bring these types of situations forward to adults at school, as quickly as possible, so that the adults can respond in a more timely manner with less peripheral influences. It was discovered after further review that Kennedy Middle School was not part of the original discourse; however, due to social media chatter, KMS became a major consideration as a target in the initial investigation.”

“A few things for additional emphasis given our event and others in Wisconsin: 1) If you become aware of something during non-school hours, immediately contact law enforcement and report it, as they will contact us regarding any school-related concerns – certainly remember, “See/hear something; say something;” however, saying or reporting it on social media is not the most-advisable, effective, or best-practice way to express it; 2) if you are a gun or weapon owner, take inventory and make sure to secure them appropriately and; 3) continue to encourage your student(s) to wear their ID badges at KMS and GHS.”

“Again, Germantown School District and Germantown Police Department Officials believe that a credible threat did not exist, there are repercussions for expressing explicit threats or perceivable threatening language, and our students are under the watchful eyes of many caring adults and peers and continue to be safe at school.”

“Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

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