On November 12, a Shorewood High School student was arrested after found being in possession of a hit list and ammunition.
The following day, school was cancelled across the district so that police could continue their investigation. On the day off, every locker in the high school was searched. In the end, nothing was found, and no students or staff were harmed.
Bryan Davis, superintendent, has since referred to the events that unfolded after the discovery of the hit list as a “success.”
According to the Shorewood Police Department, the situation first started when a student saw a hit list in another student’s notebook. Concerned, the student reported it to a teacher.
“I think from a success standpoint, it was a student thinking about our protocols, it was a student who saw something, who said something to a trusted adult,” Davis said.
Davis applauds the student for speaking up, and emphasizes the importance of having good teacher-student relationships.
“Not only did that student understand that [the hit list] was wrong, but they felt comfortable talking to an adult,” Davis said. “Those two points were really important.”
From there, the teacher that received the information contacted the assistant principal. And the administration, in tandem with the police, was able to fully investigate what was going on.
The student who was charged with creating the hit list and found with a magazine of ammunition in their backpack was taken into police custody that day.
“I think the sequence of those events, and how efficiently we were able to work through those events, to me, is a successful series of events to basically get us to a point where students were safe,” Davis said.
Situations like these can’t be predicted. However, according to Davis, they can be dealt with in a way that follows protocol and ensures the safety of everyone at school.
“We have our safety protocols that we have in place on a regular basis,” Davis said. “This is a testament to the success of that. Making sure that all students have a trusted adult that they can check in with, that we have staff that are trained to administer protocols that are gonna keep people safe, so we’ll continue to have those in place. We were really able to get ahead of a potentially dangerous situation because those protocols worked.”
Many students and parents expressed concerns about being notified about the event only after school, several hours after the administrations and police were aware of the situation.
“It was really to make sure we had a really thorough process from the time of the report coming in to the time of the communication,” Davis said.
On the topic of consequences for the student that was arrested, Davis didn’t say much.
“I can’t give you any details on what the consequences are or anything like that, just due to student privacy,” Davis said. “Certainly, our priority is to make sure that we’re safe here at school. This was a significant threat and significant issue that came up, so we want to take that seriously.”
Davis says the school is exploring different options to determine the best course of action for the student.
“We also balance the need for an education, and for support,” Davis said. “Many times these types of situations are signals of somebody struggling, somebody needing some help and extra support. And so we also want to be conscious as a learning institution … [of] ways that we can help support that progress. Sometimes that’s here, sometimes that’s in alternative settings or other places. We’re working through all of the options that are available at this point, to make sure that everybody can be able to get what they want.”