Walsenburg schools shut over threat

WALSENBURG- Superintendent Michael Doyle had a very long evening last Wednesday, April 8.

    Reacting to a possible threat that was texted to a student’s parent and then forwarded to Principal Patti Martinez, Doyle had long discussions with Police Chief Larry Baldonado and other school officials before deciding at 2:30 am Thursday to cancel school in Walsenburg for the next day.

    The incident began when a young man was sent home from John Mall High School on Wednesday for what is described as “inappropriate” writings.  That evening, a text message was spammed out to students, warning that the student was on the run from the police and was threatening to “shoot up” the school the next day.  This text was passed around and forwarded until it reached Doyle.

    Doyle asked Baldonado if he could have a police officer in all of his schools the next day, but the police department simply did not have the manpower to do that kind of staffing.  Just to be ultra-cautious, Doyle decided to cancel school for Thursday. 

    By Friday, the story had been picked up by the national news media, and reported on by Fox News.

    The young man who is at the heart of the furor is not suspected of sending the text, and indeed, spent the evening at home, unaware of the consternation swirling around him.