'DEATH LIST': Threat rocks Lockport High
A student has been pulled from Lockport High School and police are investigating, after authorities discovered what police have called a “death list” containing the names of more than 40 students.
Lockport City Schools Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone said an LHS student turned over a notebook, belonging to another student, to administration Wednesday.
The notebook reportedly contained a kind of hit list of fellow students.
“It was a list of approximately 40 students’ names with statements that would lead you to believe the student wished harm against those students,” Carbone said.
Principal Frank Movalli said the school took action immediately. Administrators checked the student’s locker and confiscated other notebooks, while interviewing the student and others, he said.
The Lockport Police Department was notified and responded to the school.
According to a department press release, the LPD responded to a report of “students talking about a death list.”
Lockport Police Officer Scot Snaith, who is stationed at the school as its resource officer, “took immediate action with the school to investigate and intervene,” the release said.
Detective Warren Hale also responded to the school and is now leading the investigation on the police end, according to Chief Larry Eggert.
“We’re just making sure there weren’t any other kids threatened,” Eggert said. “We’re just kind of following the school’s lead here to see how far they want us to go with it.”
Any information or leads can be directed to Hale at 439-6741.
Because the boy is under the age of 16, he will likely be sent to the family court system, where he could receive mandatory counseling, Eggert said.
“We can do some proactive stuff to get him some treatment,” Eggert said.
Carbone said the student has not returned to the school since Wednesday and most likely will not return.
‘A certain level of fear’
Movalli said guidance counselors had sat down with the kids who were on the hit list and were available to any other students who needed to talk.
This is the first time the school has faced a threat of this magnitude, Movalli said.
“I would say there’s a certain level of fear throughout the building,” he said.
Movalli made an announcement Friday morning to the entire school to inform all students about what had happened.
All students whose names were on the list were notified, and counselors have contacted their parents, Carbone said.
Tiffany Miller, who has two sons at LHS, said she was angry that the school notified only the parents of the kids on the list, and not all parents of LHS students.
“My son came home and told me all the details,” Miller said. “I think (the school) should have kept us abreast of what was going on. This is the safety of our children. They should have told us immediately.”
Miller said several parents kept their kids home from school Thursday and Friday because they were afraid.
One father of an LHS student, Tim, who asked his last name not be used, said the incident made him very concerned about the welfare of his children at school.
Tim’s son, Nathan, was friends with the student, though Tim did not know the student personally.
Several of Nathan’s friends are very upset about the list, Tim added.
“None of them were on the list, but their friends’ names were on the list,” he said.
Carbone said school administrators take the incident, and all incidents like it, very seriously.
“The safety of our children is our first priority.” Carbone said. “Any kind of violence we take very seriously, and we deal with it appropriately.”
As students were dismissed Friday afternoon, rumors flew about the incident and the student. Teens walking near the school were buzzing about what had happened.
Sophomore Jessica Palermo said she knew a few people on the list. While some of them were scared, she said, others did not take the threat seriously.
“A couple of them just thought it was funny,” she said. “A lot of people are (scared), like I was. I don’t really feel safe in school.”
Junior Nathan Jordan, 17, said he knew some people on the list but was not scared. His friend, Senior Elizabeth Van Houten, said a lot of people felt the same way.
“A lot of the people look at it as a joke, not to be taken seriously,” Van Houten said.
Sophomore Katie Schaunk, 16, said she was in biology class when she heard about the list, and one of her close friends was on it.
She said she heard rumors about what was written on the list, including descriptions of what the student planned to do to each student.
“It was pretty sick,” she said. “It’s like, the main thing (everyone) is talking about.”
The school is planning assemblies to talk to the student body about school rules and emergency procedures, as well as character-building education and discussion of relationships.
“I think that there’s a lot of frustration in our world today. There’s a lot of stress in our world today,” Carbone said. “There’s a lot of portrayals of violence out there. We really want our school to be a non-violent learning community, and we’re working very hard to move in that direction.”
She said she’s considering looking into different programs and strategies to help kids vent their stress in a healthy manner, bringing parents into the equation.
“This is a very good time to talk to students and teachers about how our relationships impact each other,” Carbone said.
Contact reporter April Amadon at 439-9222, ext. 6251.