Two Oak Harbor High School students were arrested for making threats and a third student was taken into custody for assaulting a teacher last week, according to police.
This follows two incidents in early February at the high school. In one case, a student was accused of bringing a BB gun to school. In the other, a student allegedly made a threat against the school involving an image of an AR-15 rifle on Instagram.
In a letter sent to parents Friday, Principal Dwight Lundstrom explained that no violence or injury occurred, but he emphasized that students should know that any threat, even if meant as a joke, can have serious consequences.
“We want to encourage our students to continue to speak up,” he wrote. “It’s these proactive measures, coupled with our parents and students reporting any time they hear or see an unsafe situation, that allow our administration and the Oak Harbor Police Department to act swiftly and appropriately.”
On Friday, police received a report from the school that a 15-year-old student had made a ”hit list” with the names of seven students on his school Google account, according to Oak Harbor Police Capt. Bill Wilke.
The list was titled “Who we finta kill,” he said, adding that “finta” is a slang term that means “gonna.”
The student apparently felt he had been bullied by other students, but he also said the list was just a joke.
“Obviously it wasn’t taken that way,” Wilke said. “We have to take these matters seriously.”
Investigators arrested the boy on suspicion of making threats to kill. The seven students on the list and their parents were notified, Wilke said.
While the police were investigating the case at the school, a student allegedly pushed a teacher. The police arrested him on suspicion of custodial assault.
On Thursday, a student allegedly made a threat to shoot a teacher; the threat was made in front of other students, the police said.
The threat was made impulsively and the student had no intention of following through, according to a letter sent to parents. Nevertheless, the police were called and he was arrested on suspicion of making a threat to kill.
On Feb. 4, a school official reported to police that a 17-year-old student had posted a photo on Instagram with his image, a photo of an AR-15 style rifle, several heads of possible students and red letters stating “Don’t come to school tomorrow,” according to the police report. The boy was arrested at his home.
A few days later, a 16-year-old student was arrested at the high school for bringing a BB gun to school. A student reported to school officials that he or she saw the boy take the BB gun out of his bag and pass it around to other kids in a classroom. The witness didn’t know whether the gun was real or not, according to police.
In a letter to Oak Harbor families Friday, Superintendent Lance Gibbon acknowledges that “recent events and the national conversation about school safety” has caused anxieties, but he is hopeful that the focus on the issue will bring about meaningful change. He wrote that there is a lot the community can do to keep kids safe. That includes making schools “positive, caring and supportive places” and being vigilant and proactive about reporting concerns.
Gibbon wrote that the schools will continue to expand safety and preparedness efforts.
“There’s a long list of efforts we’ve made this year along with future plans that were in place well before recent national events,” he wrote.
He noted that all the schools will have multiple video cameras monitored in the offices where officials will have the ability to remotely lock main entrances; the district’s emergency text message system will be expanded; and staff members will receive improved training.
“The work of keeping our schools safe is an ongoing process and we need everyone’s help,” the superintendent wrote. “I remain convinced that positive and collaborative relationships and cultures are the foundations upon which this work is achieved. With staff, parents, students and the community working together, we can keep Oak Harbor Public Schools safe and the best place to learn and work in our state.”