Platteville schools closed due to ‘situation endangering student safety’

Platteville schools were closed Friday due to a situation that district officials said could have endangered student safety.

Superintendent of Schools Connie Valenza told News 3 all schools were closed Friday due to a situation outside the school but that could impact student safety. Valenza said she had to make the decision early Friday as the situation was developing.

“After consulting with Chief McKinley of the Platteville Police, we made a joint decision that we did not have enough information to ensure student safety on the way to school and in school,” Valenza said in a statement. “I will determine whether we can hold evening activities at a point later in the day.”

Platteville police said the incident that prompted the district to cancel classes involved a subject who was threatening harm to himself, and it was believed that he was in close proximity to the high school.

“You just have to make a decision you think is best for kids at the time. I just couldn’t imagine a scenario where kids are out walking to school or kids riding buses to school in that vicinity as a good situation,” said Valenza.

According to a news release, police received a call about a subject that had left in a vehicle and was indicating that he was going to harm himself, and that he had a rifle in his possession. The vehicle was found unoccupied on Madison Street in Platteville near Moundview Park.

Police said that the subject told officers on the phone that he left the rifle in the park and told them where to find it. Officers recovered the gun from a wooded area in Moundview Park.

Police said at about 1:20 p.m. that the subject was found and taken into protective custody.

Police said there were posts circulating on social media saying there was an active shooter in the area, but the claims were unsubstantiated. There was no active shooter threat in the city.

“That’s what is a little frustrating to us because parents I think sometimes feel they are seeing this stuff out on social media and they feel like we are being evasive with them or we are to giving them clear information and most of the time that is just not accurate,” said Valenza.