Superintendent: Westlake H.S. safe after threat

TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS - In a letter sent to parents early Thursday morning, the superintendent of Eanes Independent School District said Westlake High School is safe and will resume as usual after a student allegedly made threats to people on campus.

According to Tom Leonard, the superintendent, officials received reports Wednesday that a male teen had "made statement indicating that he was going to do harm to others" at Westlake H.S. Officials would not say what the threat was, but KVUE's partners at the Austin American-Statesman report that the student threatened to shoot people at the school.

After receiving the reports, officials shared the teen's identity with authorities, who then began investigating the allegations.

The student has been located and it "being evaluated." Authorities will determine what actions they need to pursue, if any, Leonard said. But authorities do not believe any students or staff members are in danger, so school will resume as usual Thursday.

Leonard did say officials will honor parents' decision regarding their child's attendance Thursday.

Eanes ISD posted the an update from Westlake High Principal Steve Ramsey on its website early Thursday afternoon:

Last night and this morning have been filled with a flurry of communication, questions and concerns due to a potential threat made by a student on our school. Dr. Leonard’s messages were on point and hopefully, reassured parents that it is absolutely safe to send your child to school today.

Let me assure you that school is operating as normal today. Before students arrived, I held an early morning staff debrief which included all department heads and administrators, we readied our counselors and office staff, and opened the school for learning. We also had additional law enforcement on-hand overnight and throughout the day. And, of course, we have an amazing cadre of caring, compassionate staff members who are here for any student who may need to process this event.

My administrative team has been interviewing multiple students today to further assess the information we received on this threat. This includes reviewing internal video surveillance, student electronic communication and social media.

Meanwhile, we remain in contact with the Austin Police Department and Travis County Sheriff’s Office. The student who made the threat has been located and authorities are handling the investigation; he will not be at school this week, and will not return until we have fully assessed all aspects of the situation. We continue to work with law enforcement and will help with their investigation to determine what actions they may pursue.

There have been several rumors around campus today. Please know that we are monitoring and investigating, but also working towards a sense of normalcy, while keeping Westlake High School students and staff safe. We plan on moving forward with activities and tomorrow’s pep rally, and will continue normal operations unless told differently by law enforcement. At this time, they have not given us any reason to alter our course.

I have received many emails, phone calls and texts from parents who are grateful for our transparency. As you can imagine, we work to carefully communicate what we can in an expeditious manner. Sometimes that can be difficult, especially when dealing with an active investigation, so we do appreciate your patience as we work off of facts, not rumors.

We are so thankful for our fast-acting law enforcement who worked into the wee hours of the morning to help us feel comfortable with the situation. We also thank those who stepped forward to inform us of the potential threat. The strength of our community is our greatest asset.

Thank you for supporting our students and staff.

Steve Ramsey
Principal
Westlake High School

(© 2016 KVUE)


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