UPDATE, 8:42 A.M.:

   Tonight's Ripon High School boys' basketball games have been postponed (but not yet rescheduled) due to the ongoing situation at the school.

   The boys' teams were scheduled to play Kewaskum tonight at home.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

   With both rumored and actual threats swirling, an added police presence will be on hand today at Ripon High School (RHS) and Ripon Middle School (RMS).

   This was one of several updates offered just before midnight Wednesday, when Ripon Area School District officials sent an update via Campus Messenger to families.

   The message offered new details into the investigation about 17 names found listed on a bathroom wall, and noted that rumors of a bomb threat are false.

   “This evening at least one RHS student claimed on social media that a bomb threat was made. This is not true,” the message stated. “If such a threat were made, information would have been provided to families. Students should be aware that individuals who engage in threatening behavior such as occurred today could face criminal charges up to and including terrorist threat as well as discipline up to and including expulsion.”

   Investigation continues, however, into the actual threat discovered Wednesday afternoon: what was described by the district as “a message in one of the restrooms at Ripon High School threatening 17 Ripon High School students.”

   That led to a “soft lockdown,” in which students were kept in their classrooms as instruction continued, while the students named in the threat were escorted from classrooms by police and school staff, and eventually allowed to leave school.

   The soft lockdown eventually was lifted, school continued through the remainder of the day as planned and parents were informed of the situation via an initial Campus Messenger notice at about 4 p.m.

   Meanwhile, an investigation began immediately by both police and district staff.

   “Just after 10:15 p.m. this evening, Ripon Area School District staff and the City of Ripon Police Department suspended their investigation of a threat made to seventeen high school students earlier in the day,” the late-night message stated. “By reviewing security camera footage of the students who entered and exited the restroom prior to the handwritten list of student names being found, the team has developed a fairly concise list of students. They began questioning these students this evening. 

   “This same team will resume their investigation tomorrow while the police department provides additional police presence at the RMS and RHS.”

   School continued today (Thursday) as scheduled at both schools.

   This comes amid a week of simulated and actual safety concerns across the state of Wisconsin.

   Actual attacks occurred at schools Monday in Waukesha and Tuesday morning in Oshkosh.

   Those led to a review of safety protocol Tuesday at RHS, which resulted in an inadvertent activation of an active threat alarm.

   This already had heightened worries about potential threats in Ripon before Wednesday’s discovery of the message in the RHS bathroom.

   Following the accidental activation of the alarm Tuesday, Superintendent Mary Whitrock noted in another release that “our district’s safety team understands the stress and emotion such drills evoke in both students and staff. We apologize for any undue stress to students, staff and their families which this event caused. Our school counselors are available to students as they process this event which happened today in our district as well as the events across the state.”

   For additional information on this ongoing story, stay with RiponPress.com, and read a full story in the Dec. 12, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.