Beaver Dam schools to reopen Monday after threat closed schools Friday

Superintendent 'frustrated' by 'sinister' threats

Threats sent to an assistant principal in an email prompted Beaver Dam officials to close all schools Friday as police investigate what the school superintendent called the “sinister” intentions of three juveniles.

Superintendent Steve Vessey and Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger said in a news conference Friday morning outside the police department that the threat to hurt staff and students with guns and explosives was specific to the fifth period Friday, which is lunchtime.

Police have spoken to two high school students and are in contact with a third male juvenile in Nevada believed to be connected to the emails, which were received at 1:56 a.m. Friday. No one was arrested as of Friday morning. Kreuziger said the two Beaver Dam students believed to have participated in the threat have been cooperative.

The school district posted a message to its Facebook page late Friday saying that all schools will run a regularly scheduled school day on Monday, albeit with an increased police presence. Weekend events will continue as scheduled, also with a police presence.

Vessey hinted in fiery comments that threatening schools will not be tolerated.

“If you make a threat against our schools, against our staff, against our students, I will do everything in my power to ensure that you do not walk back into our schools,” Vessey said.

Vessey also said the school has received multiple threats over the past three weeks. He said he’s upset by the threats and said the trend of making threats to schools needs to “stop now,” citing the safety and well-being of the children.

“Do I sound frustrated? I’m thoroughly frustrated,” Vessey said. “I can’t emphasize enough, the consequences on these children’s lives are substantial.”

“To our students here today, you have my sincere apology to the disruption to your school year and your day,” Vessey said, addressing students who were also standing outside the Beaver Dam Police Department during the news conference. “We’ll do everything we can to get you back to normal. And I’m truly sorry for it.”

Beaver Dam police are working with federal authorities to locate the third person believed to be connected to the case. Kreuziger said three students communicated via Skype, an online video chat service.

Days before the Friday email threats, Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt asked the community in a statement sent to media to step up its educational approach to prevent what he called “disturbing, frightening” school threats in the county in recent weeks.

“We need to all work together and do our part to ensure the safety of our children,” Schmidt wrote.

Waupun schools were locked down on April 18 after authorities said a 15-year-old student made a threat via Snapchat.

There are about 3,400 students at 10 schools in the Beaver Dam Unified School District, the Associated Press reported.