The Hartford High School principal chose to not report a gun threat, according to a report from the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.
A Sebastian County deputy went to Hartford High in reference to a student making a threat, according to the report.
When the deputy arrived, he met with a teacher at the school who informed him that she heard a student make a threat to shoot everyone at the school. The report states the student made the threats on Friday (March 14).
As the deputy prepared to leave the school, he was asked to step into the principal’s office. Principal David Lee asked the deputy to bring him up to speed on what was taking place.
This conversation was the first time the deputy had spoken with the principal that day, even though he had been at the school for more than an hour, the report states.
According to the report, after the deputy explained everything to Lee the principal said, “I was told about this Friday but didn’t think it was a threat. I thought it needed some concern, but I didn’t think it was a threat because [the student] said he would do it if there were no rules.”
Before he left the school, the deputy spoke again with the teacher who reported the gun threat. He asked when she reported the incident, and she said she reported it on Friday (March 14). She also said Lee wouldn’t do anything about the threat and that he down played the threat, according to the report.
The school released this statement in response to the report:
“The Hartford School Board and administration would like to assure the parents of Hartford students that the safety of the students and staff are the priority of the District. As far as the recent incident, there is a written procedure of how threats are handled. This procedure was followed. Due to this incident, the procedure will be revisited. Thanks is given to Sheriff Hollenbeck and the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Department for the ongoing help in guaranteeing the safety of the students and staff.”
A 16-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening. Since he is a juvenile, his name was not released by the sheriff’s office.
The teenager told two other students at the high school on Friday that if there were no rules, he would bring a gun to school and shoot everyone, authorities said.