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Lakeland superintendent apologizes to parents after kill lists found at school


On Thursday, KHQ spoke with Lakeland School District Superintendent Becky Meyer and Rathdrum Police Chief Tomi McLean. Both said they are working together on an investigation into two students who wrote two separate kill lists this week at Lakeland Jr. High School.

“In most instances the intent and means for students to follow through is not there, but in the one case that it might be you cannot take a chance,” said Meyer.

McLean had this message for parents: “we do care about their children. Their safety is important to us, and that we will keep an eye on things and work as a team.”

Meyer told KHQ the Lakeland Jr. High principal was made aware of the first threatening letter Tuesday, but her district office was not made aware of the letter until Wednesday. When asked why, Meyer said the principal was following protocol.

“In following through with the safety protocol, I looked through the steps here, it appears as though the school was following the protocol for investigation. Down farther on the list it says to notify the district office, so we were not notified until later in the steps,” said Meyer

When KHQ asked Meyer what those steps were, this was her response: “it’s similar to an investigation following and collecting evidence, data, witnesses, looking at records, contacting parents. There’s several steps that are taken before this district protocol says to contact the district office.”

Meyer added this protocol needs to be changed.

“I’m going to be reviewing this protocol and my hope is to move farther up on the list that the district office is notified immediately of any safety concerns student issues right off the bat,” said Meyer.

A second kill list was discovered at the school Wednesday. Both kill lists were written by two different students, one 13 and the other 14 years old. Both students were arrested and charged with threatening violence against school property. Police said both kill lists were found to be not credible, but they added additional security at schools across the district Thursday as a response.

“After speaking with the students and staff the SRO (school resource officer) determined the student didn’t have the ability or means to do any harm at the school,” said McLean. “We felt at the time since a criminal act had occurred we would go ahead an make an arrest.”

Several parents told KHQ they were not notified of the situation until they received an email Wednesday night from the school district. The district also put out a voicemail Thursday after hearing from several parents who didn’t receive the original email.

“We all make mistakes. I wish we would have had earlier communication out to parents, but this is a learning opportunity for me to learn how can we do this better in the future,” said Meyer.

Meyer added that while educating students is Lakeland’s mission, ensuring student safety is their priority.

“I do apologize to the parents that we are having to deal with this, but I do want you to know that we are taking this very seriously,” said Meyer.

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