Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

April 10, 2013

Threat targets local schools

GOSHEN — An anonymous threat against school children in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties have local officials taking action to enhance security at all local schools.

The threat was reported to the public by the Elkhart Police Department Monday afternoon. Police said the threat specifically mentions someone would kill 20 children at five schools in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties on April 15.

Tuesday evening Elkhart police released another statement, saying, “The information (threat) was very nonspecific. It did not state any specific schools or students. There were also no lists.”

Elkhart police have contacted the sheriff’s department, which is taking steps to boost security at schools.

“In response to several concerns reported to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department concerning publicized threats to area schools, the sheriff’s department will increase their presence at the schools,” wrote Sheriff Brad Rogers in a news release he issued Tuesday. “The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department is taking this threat seriously and will be working with local school officials and other law enforcement agencies to provide additional security and safety for students.”

Diane Woodworth, superintendent of Goshen Community Schools, said Tuesday, “None of the threats received in the area mentioned any of the Goshen Community Schools. However, due to our proximity to schools that have received threats, there will be extra police coverage and security provided at and around all Goshen schools on Monday, as well as on the preceding and following days.”

Woodworth said if Goshen residents have questions they should contact her office at 533-8631.

Goshen police said they take precautions daily to prevent violence at schools.

“Goshen Police Department personnel, in conjunction with school officials, have discussed security within the Goshen school system and the threat of possible violence directed toward our schools,” said Tina Kingsbury, spokeswoman for the department. “At that time, assessments of school buildings’ security and emergency plans were discussed. On every school day, every precaution is taken to protect our children from harm and allow them to attend school without being in fear.”

In Elkhart, where the concern began, police said they are working with the Elkhart Community Schools staff to develop an “action plan.” Police are also working with private school staffs in Elkhart, including Trinity Lutheran School, St. Vincent School and St. Thomas School.

Police request anyone with information about the threat contact them via a tip line at 389-4777.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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