Boys Talk About Shooting At Ecker Hill Middle School; Sheriff Responds
Tuesday night, the Summit County Sheriff's office received a call from a parent whose child heard two boys talking about shooting up the Ecker Hill Middle School.
Twelve- and Thirteen-year-old students from Ecker Hill Middle School discussed a shooting they planned for Wednesday at school. Summit County Sheriff's Lieutenant Andrew Wright said they were able to investigate quickly and almost immediately resolve the threat made by the two boys.
"We got notification from a parent, and then subsequently we had multiple calls come in. And I believe it was after multiple social media posts that circulated throughout the community. One parent said, my son, overheard this while at school. Sadly, we'll probably miss out on school tomorrow. And another resident commented and said, well, did you contact the sheriff's office? So, you know, it's one of those circumstances that this is a serious nature we would expect people to call us immediately and not just post something on social media and frightened other people, it allows us to investigate something quickly, which we did in this case."
The call came into the dispatch office a little after 10 PM. Sheriff's Deputies visited the children's homes.
"And, you know, of course, we talked about the seriousness of joking around about something so serious, first of all. Second of all, determining that it in fact was a bad joke that they had mentioned to other students, while on the school grounds or near the school grounds. And third of all that they didn't have any weapons or the ability to follow through with this joke that they had mentioned to other students."
Wright said they increased a presence at all the schools in the Basin.
"And first of all, put people at ease, let them know that we did investigate this, but we're also here on the school grounds to make a presence and basically get the message out there. We will not tolerate these types of threats. That is not a joke and, and we are going to push this through to the county attorney's office and request that they handle it accordingly in juvenile court."
Park City School District Chief Operations Officer Mike Tanner said in a statement to KPCW that the district is grateful to law enforcement for their rapid response and making a quick determination that the students had no access to guns. He said students who see something this serious must say something to a trusted adult. He said the school district appreciates the students who told their parents about the comments they heard. Tanner and Ecker Hill Principal Amy Jenkins sent a letter to parents at 5:45 AM on Wednesday explaining the situation.
Wright said they went to the boy's homes, met with them and their parents late Tuesday night.
"Ultimately, we were able to determine who these students were and went to their homes and made contact with them and their parents to talk to them about the seriousness of it. They told the parents and the students they were not allowed to go to school today--that they needed to wait to hear from the school district. Of course, they have their policies and procedures on how to deal with something like this and so we did notify the school district and specifically Ecker Hill Middle School to let them know what took place and to allow them to handle that internally as they work."
Wright said they have limited resources, and it is critical parents contact law enforcement rather than putting it out on social media. He said parents have a responsibility to report things like bullying, drugs in the schools, or the threat of violence.