A 14-year-old Sedgwick student was arrested Monday night after a joint investigation by the Harvey County Sheriff's Office and Sedgwick Police Department into a threat of potential violence toward the Sedgwick Public Schools. The suspect was taken into custody at 10:15 p.m. on charges of an alleged criminal threat.
Harvey County Sheriff Chad Gay reported that the suspect had made comments to fellow students on Friday to "not come to school on Tuesday." Those students were aware of previous comments the suspect had made about school shootings in the past, taking that as a threat to commit violence, and alerted school personnel on Monday.
"I was very happy that students did the right thing and talked to adults. I would certainly encourage that and hope that continues. That sets lots of things in motion, although they're not always things that we can talk about or post on our website. I was thankful that students brought their concerns to our attention," said USD 439 superintendent Larry Roth. "The district takes any threat very seriously. As soon as I was made aware of the threat, the police were contacted."
The threat was isolated to the Sedgwick schools and is no longer considered active, with both departments wrapping up their investigation. While the suspect is held in detention, the next step will be for the case to go to the courts.
"Now, it's a matter of getting into the court system and then the county attorney will start dealing with it," Gay said.
Such threats are taken seriously by the sheriff's office and, it was noted, will be investigated to the fullest. In helping to do just that, Gay recommended that such comments not be taken lightly and be reported to the proper authorities in a timely manner.
"I want to make sure that 'if you see something, say something.' If this happens, we need to know about it; the quicker the better," Gay said. "People hesitate a little bit on stuff like this because they don't know if it's for real; they don't know if the kid really meant it when they say something like that, but let us make that determination. Get us involved in it and call 911 to get this process started. Let us do our job; let us get involved and help out."