North Idaho

Rathdrum parents upset about handling of school threats

Rathdrum parents upset about handling of school threats

RATHDRUM, Idaho - The way the Lakeland School District handled two threatening letters this week has some parents upset.

The superintendent said the first threatening letter was discovered on Tuesday by school administration, but the district wasn't notified until Wednesday. That's when they sent out notifications to parents.

The superintendent said, after this, district protocol needs to be changed.

On Tuesday, Lakeland Junior High administration discovered a student had created a "hit list."

"The student was never put back into with the other students, the student was in the office the entire time with adult supervision," said Lakeland School District Superintendent Dr. Becky Meyer.

Rathdrum police then discovered another separate "hit list" on Wednesday, and both students were arrested.

"Once I was made aware, I followed through to find out all of the information, contacted law enforcement, and decided to contact parents right away," said Dr. Meyer.

Meyer also sent out a voicemail to parents on Thursday after learning some people didn't receive her first email.

Dr. Meyer said the school principal followed protocol when dealing with the threat, but that protocol now needs to change.

"The district office needs to be notified sooner so we can get out to the parents sooner what is going on," said Dr. Meyer.

Tristan Smith says his daughter turned in that first "hit list" to school administration on Tuesday. He, and other parents we spoke to, say they should have been informed sooner.

"No matter if it comes down to be a credible threat or not, if there's a threat like this that happens at a school then the parents need to be notified immediately," said Smith.

Dr. Meyer said she understands how serious this is. She, Tristan, and his wife met privately Thursday afternoon.

"We all make mistakes," said Dr. Meyer. "I wish we would've had earlier communication out to parents, but this is a learning opportunity for me to learn how can we do this better in the future."

Smith said after speaking directly with Dr. Meyer, he is confident communication will improve moving forward.

"I believe after this everything will be handled a lot differently in the future," Smith said.

Dr. Meyer said she has been with the district for just a few months, and now plans to change the district protocol so that if something like this happens in the future, the district will know right away and be able to help with communication.

She said she welcomes parents coming to her with feedback and questions.

The two students are still in custody on charges of threatening violence on school property, and Rathdrum police say they are increasing presence in and near the school.