Nyssa police, school leaders react quickly to tip about violence

NYSSA – Police investigated reports at Nyssa High School last week that a student threatened to bring a rifle to school and shoot it up. They determined there was no threat.

The tip came last Wednesday, the same day a student went on a shooting rampage 3,000 miles away at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He killed 17 people.

The Nyssa incident began at about 1 p.m. when a student tipped a police officer assigned to the schools that a classmate had a “hit list” and planned a violent act.

According to Nyssa Police Chief Ray Rau, his officer contacted Jana Iverson, Nyssa School District superintendent, and the student was brought in for questioning. The student’s parent was present as well.

“A student thought he heard the kid say he was going to bring a rifle to school the last day,” said Iverson. “When they went back through and talked to students that were around, they couldn’t even verify that statement.”

Rau said police established that the tip was unfounded but said the student, who he wouldn’t identify because he is a juvenile, was playing a violent video war game on a computer in his class. That was a violation of school policy. The student was later evaluated by a mental health professional and determined not to be a risk to students or teachers.

“The kid who made the report, he thought there were certain people that the kid may have threatened and we contacted those parents by phone,” said Iverson.

She said no district-wide alert was issued.

“We were very cautious, but the threat was not legitimate and I didn’t want to cause an unnecessary scare,” said Iverson.

Iverson said any potential threat to students and teachers the district would be addressed immediately.

“There was no hit list, no gun and actually no threat to any person. But we wanted to take it seriously,” said Iverson. “Even though it turned out to be nothing, we are glad it was reported.”

Rau said the student was embarrassed by the incident.

“There were no issues with him. But we go 100 percent until we figured out it wasn’t real. They (the district) did everything by the book and you have to do that nowadays,” said Rau.