A Ripon High School (RHS) student is being hailed for immediately speaking up last week upon learning of a fellow student’s threat to shoot eight classmates.

     His or her quick action last week Friday morning enabled school and police authorities to assess the threat’s plausibility, interview that student and his parent, notify the eight targeted students and their parents of what had occurred, and briefly alert RHS staff and parents to the incident.

     Authorities determined that the student’s threat, made while chatting to the other student — described as an “upstander” — was absent any evidence to suggest he had the means to harm students named in the threat.

     “An upstander is someone who says or does something about situations like threats or bullying, and it certainly paid off in this situation,” said Principal Randy Hatlen, noting RHS’s most recent newsletter to parents and students included information on being an upstander.

     Here’s how the situation unfolded Friday:

     Sometime between 8:22 and 8:35 a.m., a student conversing with the upstander shared eight names of students he allegedly threatened to shoot.

     The student hearing the threat came to the RHS office after first hour — around 8:45 a.m. — and shared what he or she had heard.

     During the interview with the upstander, school authorities determined that no students were in immediate danger.

     Hatlen then removed the student who made the threat from class while Assistant Principal Bill Kinziger contacted the Ripon Police Department and School Resource Officer Lindsey Michels.

     An investigation then began with the student and a Violent Risk Assessment Team comprised of Michels, Hatlen, Kinziger and a school counselor.  

     Meanwhile, the student’s parent was contacted and came to school.  The team talked with the parent and the student together, and then had a lengthy conversation with just the parent, which finished around 1 p.m.

     During the three hours of questioning, the team asked a series of questions as spelled out in the RASD Violent Risk Assessment Protocol document, which is posted on the district’s website.

     Following the investigation, the student was removed from school grounds and, according to RASD policy, is subject to discipline up to and including expulsion.

     After the investigation was completed, students named in the threat were called to the office as a group, where they were told of the situation. The students stayed in the office and, with Hatlen, each individually contacted their parents. Those conversations began around 1 and finished at 3 p.m.

     The student who made the threat was described as “calm and remorseful” during the interview, according to an answer to a set of questions the Commonwealth submitted to the district.

     To read the entire story, see the Dec. 28, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.