Edison teacher suspended as threats on chalkboard investigated

2013-03-04T16:30:00Z 2013-03-05T18:42:05Z Edison teacher suspended as threats on chalkboard investigatedCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

LAKE STATION | A veteran Edison Jr./Sr. High School teacher was suspended Friday with pay following a threatening message he allegedly wrote on the chalkboard to students.

Lake Station Community Schools Superintendent Dan DeHaven declined to identify the male teacher, whom he said has been with the district for more than 30 years. DeHaven said the man teaches business to students in grades nine through 12.

The message, in part, said, "Period G (only). A. You are idiots!!! B. The guns are loaded!!! C. Care to try me???"

DeHaven said the message was posted on Facebook by a student.

"This is a personnel matter," DeHaven said Monday responding to questions from the media at the high school and in his office.

"It is under investigation by the school district and by the Lake Station Police Department. The message was posted on Friday morning and it was directed to the teacher's sixth-period class. That class would have come in at 12:30 p.m."

During a news conference at Lake Station City Hall, Lake Station Police Chief Kevin Garber said the incident is under investigation.

"We'll be interviewing students and teachers; we're getting reports about what took place on Friday," Garber said. "In the next few days, we expect to present the information to the prosecutor's office. There's a chance it could be a felony, intimidation, insinuating you have a weapon, but it's hard to say right now."

DeHaven said the incident came to the attention of administrators, and the teacher was removed from his class at 10:30 a.m. Friday and sent home.

"This was a lapse in judgment," DeHaven said. "I have not spoken to the teacher yet."

DeHaven said the teacher has not been involved in any sort of incident like this previously. He also said no one was in danger as a result of the comments.

Prior to the incident, the teacher was off for a couple of days for personal reasons, DeHaven said. When he returned, the teacher reportedly didn't like the report given to him by the substitute teacher regarding the sixth-period class and wrote an "inappropriate" message to students, the superintendent said.

DeHaven said the teacher was not armed, but "there cannot be any references to guns in the school environment in any way."

DeHaven said parents were notified about the incident by telephone Monday. He said a few parents became aware of it Friday, and questioned school leaders about it. DeHaven said he did not notify parents Friday because he did not want to alarm them unduly. "I believe we handled it properly," DeHaven said.

Although DeHaven has not talked to the teacher directly, the superintendent said the teacher expressed sorrow about the incident Friday.


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