Parents upset, uneasy over Melba Elementary School threat

Melba parents upset over thwarted threat, which wasn't reported until after the school day.

MELBA -- A violent act against Melba Elementary School was planned for Monday, but Canyon County law enforcement and school district officials stopped it from happening - thanks to a tip from someone who noticed suspicious behavior.

The elementary school principal sent this letter home with students Monday afternoon afternoon:

While the majority of parents KTVB heard from say they're very grateful for officials' work in stopping this, they aren't happy they didn't find out about it all until after they sent their kids to school on Monday.

"School should be the safest place next to home," one parent, Jennifer Nichols, said.

Nichols has three kids in the Melba School District; one is at the elementary school.

"We should have been informed," she added. "If they would have gave us information, this is what happened and this is how they took care of it, everything is taken care of, I would have felt so much better than hearing about it just now. And everybody is shocked in our town right now, not knowing whats going on."

MOREJuvenile arrested after violent threat to Melba school

Nichols lives just yards away from the campus.

"That doesn't make me feel comfortable at all and to not let us know ahead of time before our kids went to school, I don't like that either," Nichols said.

Parents in the district found out about the thwarted threat when their kids got home from school Monday afternoon.

"It is terrifying because there's been so many shootings and tragedies that have happened to people and... now it's too close to home for me, way too close," Nichols said.

Anna Fouraker also lives just yards away from the campus.

"The entire towns' kids goes to this one school one building," Fouraker told KTVB.

 One of her kids is in second grade at Melba elementary.

"They had made the choice it was safe for the kids to go to school, and I'm upset," Fouraker said. "It just kind of took that right away from us as a parent to make that decision whether we wanna send out kids to school or not."

"Who says the kid wasn't working with other people? We don't know," Fouraker added.

"When they come to the schools, whether its Melba or any other school in the Valley, we want parents to know that those kids are safe," Melba School District Superintendent Andrew Grover said in a press conference Monday afternoon.

In the press conference, Grover and Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue told us they believe only one student was involved and that individual attended the school district; officials couldn't specify gender or age. That juvenile was taken into custody on Saturday.

"We do not believe there is an additional threat to the Melba School District or to the community either," Sheriff Donahue added. "The school was never in danger from a physical standpoint by the fact that we were alerted early on into the process and we were able to eliminate or avert any of those types of physical threats."

Officials were very vague on what the threat was, including whether it involved a weapon.

"What I will say is it's a violent threat and so I think you can probably infer from that, weapons come in all different shapes and sizes and so the fact that there was a plausible threat and the fact that our investigation showed it to be real and plausible," Donahue said. 

Officials are thanking the concerned citizen for reporting suspicious activity by that child and encouraging others to be proactive and vigilant, adding the notion, "If you see something, say something".

"Please come forward because by doing so, we are able to intervene," Sheriff Donahue added.

But many parents in Melba are still uneasy.

"Knowing that there's kids out there that are capable in our town of doing this, that's pretty upsetting. So thank God for whoever the person was that reported this," Nichols told KTVB.

KTVB spoke with one woman on Facebook whose grandkids go to Melba Elementary School. She says she is taking comfort in the fact that the students are safe and the community should be praying for the student involved and their family because this has to be devastating for them. She adds: "After hearing the news story, I'm pretty sure the district would not have allowed children to go to school today if there was indeed an [imminent] threat today.

"If they cancel school because of the snow for student safety, I have to believe that they would cancel school if there was an [imminent] threat today."

After investigating, Canyon County Sheriff's deputies arrested the juvenile suspect on Saturday. However, because the suspect is a child, the case is sealed and officials couldn't comment on details or charges.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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