A student at the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District’s Phoenix Learning Center is now in protective custody after incidents surrounding a perceived threat to the Buffalo High School were investigated earlier this week.
The situation began to unfold Tuesday, Sept. 23, when, according to BHM District officials and representatives of the Buffalo Police Department, a teacher discovered drawings that were depicted to harm others, and reported the drawings to administrators at the Phoenix Learning Center.
The situation, according to the district and BPD, did not pose any credible threat or danger to the learning center or the Buffalo High School, but police investigators did continue their foray into the incident, and the student responsible for the drawings was sent home.
Social media erupted with reports of the event Tuesday, causing BHM officials to email students and parents from Buffalo High School to inform them of the incident, despite the fact no threat was indicated. The student was interviewed by both administrators and police officials before being sent home, and the day proceeded as planned.
On Facebook, however, rumors were spread of a planned attack on the school (false) on a garage sale site, as well as a suicide attempt (also false).
Wednesday, as rumors of how the situation unfolded raged again on social media, the district and police department continued the investigation into the threat. As a result, officials from both entities said, the student was placed in protective custody.
“New information that developed made it necessary for the Buffalo Police Department to take the student involved into protective custody on Wednesday night,” the BPD said in a statement. “While there are many details that can’t be shared at this time [due to ongoing investigation], school staff and the Buffalo Police Department will continue to make the safety and security of students and staff our top priority.”
The Bison will have their homecoming football game at the Buffalo Football Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday. A dance follows.
BHM officials, including BHS principal Mark Mischke and Phoenix director Gretchen Lieb, said today the district will continue to keep parents informed.
“Social media presents a challenge in terms of communication, but our goal is to get truthful, accurate information out to you as soon as possible,” the statement reads.
“Rest assured that our schools are safe, and classes at BHS and Phoenix, along with the rest of the week’s homecoming activities, will continue on as scheduled.”
Here’s the full note sent to parents/students on Wednesday, Sept. 24:
Yesterday, September 23, a situation with a student happened at Phoenix Learning Center. Drawings were discovered that depicted harm to others and was reported to school administration. The situation was handled with seriousness and diligence. The Buffalo Police Department was involved and an investigation was conducted immediately. The officer conducting the investigation determined that there is no credible threat and that no one is in any danger.
There has been some misinformation circulating out on social media about this situation. Some of the information is false and misleading. It indicated that the student was in school and that the situation was not being taken seriously. The student is not in school, and Phoenix Learning Center and the Buffalo High School have been working closely together to make sure this matter is resolved.
Our top priority is always the safety and security of our students and staff, and we have taken all precautions to ensure that priority holds true. As always, you can contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter.
Gretchen Lieb, Director of Phoenix Learning Center
Mark Mischke, Buffalo High School Principal