Francis Howell School District Reports Safety Threat Rumor

Police believe non-specific rumors of violence on Dec. 21 are not credible.

The Francis Howell School District on Wednesday sent out a safety alert to district patrons about rumors of potential violence in the district on Friday. 

While no specifics were given, the district is working closely with local police departments on the matter. 

Students will have a half day on Friday. It's the last day of finals for secondary students. 

This is the second local school district to have a reported threat on Friday. A threat was also reported at Holt High School in the Wentzville School District. 

Here is the note sent out to district patrons Wednesday: 

Good Afternoon Parents/Guardians:

First, thank you for your feedback and patience as we have worked through this week at our schools. It has been a challenging week for all of our parents, students, and staff. We are continuing to process the events of last week and evaluate our safety practices. Our students, staff and parents have been extremely supportive of the various needs of our community at this time. 

When events such as the tragedy in Newtown occur, a lot of conversation and rumors are often generated. FHSD has been made aware of rumors of potential violence within our school district on Friday, December 21; no specific schools or names were given. I want to assure you that we always take all reports related to safety seriously. This information has been reported to local law enforcement, and we are working with them on this matter. They do not feel that the rumors have any credible basis. 

We have asked our staff to be extra vigilant in their supervisory duties and report anything of a suspicious nature. As a continued safety precaution, we will maintain our increased police presence and security within the District through the end of the week. Friday is a half day for all students and the last day of finals for our secondary students, and it is our intent to conduct classes as usual on this day.

I encourage you to talk with your child about the seriousness of rumors and the importance of reporting suspicious activities, threats and other safety concerns to a trusted adult. If your child shares any of this type of information with you, please contact your school principal or me. Students also need to be aware that law enforcement agencies take these matters very seriously and are pursuing prosecution even when such incidents are intended as pranks. 

The safety of our students is always our primary concern, and we will always take necessary precautions to ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff. If you have a safety or security concern about your child’s school, please contact the school principal who has first-hand knowledge of the building’s practices.

I know these are extremely challenging times for all of you and for our students and staff as well. These unfortunate events create anxiety and uncertainty. Please be reassured that our schools are safe places. We regularly review our procedures and processes and will continue to make necessary adjustments in both the short- and long-term to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

I appreciate your continued support of Francis Howell and your child’s school. 

Thank you,

Dr. Pam Sloan

A concerned parent of FHSD December 20, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Exchanged a few emails with the FHSD Superintendent (Pam Sloan). They are being as vigilant as possible and have their alert systems in place but I was told they cannot guarantee there will be police at every school location tomorrow per her statement: "There are not enough police w/in the various jurisdictions to cover all of the schools in the various districts and take care of the community needs as well." We as parents have to make our own decisions regarding the safety of our children in the face of such potential threats.
Travis December 21, 2012 at 12:33 AM
After several emails with the superintendent (Pam Sloan) I was able to find out from her that “The tip that went to the Mo Safe Schools Hotline in Jefferson City was anonymous and vague. There were no specific schools listed and no people were identified. The information is third-hand, and the police have little information to go on to conduct any type of investigation. The tip included the word shooting—but it was third-hand information—info that someone heard and information that our law enforcement in four jurisdictions do not believe is credible. We work closely w/these our police officer, and we rely on their expertise for guidance in such matters. There was no specificity to the information. We have been vigilant in our schools this week, and our admin always run down any leads of information that our students share w/ us. Our kids are really very good about sharing info w/ a teacher or administrator.” She also told me if I have any concerns to email the school principle. I emailed her about 8:30am this morning, and then cc’ed her on the email to the superintendent. I still have not heard from her at all. I have decided not to send my daughter to school tomorrow. Also a parent from down the street took his son into school late today, he was right buzzed in. Once inside he saw NO police or security presence. When he asked the office staff about it the said the deputy was patrolling 2 schools. This deputy is normally staffed at the other school.
Alyssa Judd December 21, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Im a FHSD student. I think we need new intruder drills. Instead of locking are selfs in the class room. We should have students evacuate and have meeting spot at a near safe place.
A concerned parent of FHSD December 21, 2012 at 05:28 PM
It does not surprise me that he was buzzed right into the school. The secretary may not have even looked up from the desk before letting him in because they are so busy and the buzzer goes off constantly. As for no police presence, this also does not surprise me. That is why my child did not go to school too. Better safe than tempt fate with the the threats from copycats, end of the world fools, and holiday stress on those unstable.
wikiwicks December 21, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I was unaware of the threats & rumors until I received the letter from Sup. Pam Sloan. Today I allowed my daughter to stay home with her grandparents and bake cookies instead of going to elementary school. The few tests that were set for their half-day Friday were moved up a day to Thursday so I saw no need for her to attend with this threat hanging over our heads. My dear daughter said she was glad the Sandy Hook shooter was dead and it's not like he's coming to St. Peters but they are still scared! 4th graders should have other things on their mind other than the fear that some other unstable shooter may find them at school.


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