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Increased Police Patrols in JCPS

***UPDATED 1:20 P.M.***Jefferson City Schools leaders said Wednesday that a Simonsen Ninth Grade Center student is being disciplined for making a verbal threat. Principals and staff at all secondary schools were meeting with students Wednesday to discuss consequences of making threats, even as a joke. The district said it is taking even minor incidents extremely seriously in the wake of last Friday’s massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.”At this time, anybody that says anything that might be deemed slightly inappropriate or threatening, that’s going to be a red flag for us,” said Jefferson City Schools spokeman David Luther.Luther told ABC 17 News the district sent the automated message Tuesday evening as a precautionary measure because of the number of calls the district office had taken about rumors of a threat or dangerous situation.Jefferson City police confirmed Wednesday that the department was in constant contact with the district about their needs and having an increased presence this week on and around the schools. But JCPD said it is not currently investigating any kind of threat toward a school or student.”If for no other reason than to alleviate tension or fear or give some kind of law enforcement presence at schools throughout the country, we’ve done the same locally,” said JCPD Capt. Doug Shoemaker.***ORIGINAL STORY***Parents of students in Jefferson City Public Schools have been getting automated calls from the district letting them know about rumors circulating and what actions leaders are taking.The phone call went out Thursday evening. Here is the text of the message sent out:”Typically, the week before Christmas break is a joyous time, but last Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut changed the mood both nationally and locally. One of the complications that comes with a school crisis is that it fuels anxiety in all of us, and that anxiety manifests itself in several ways. Our schools are dealing with several rumors that have some students more on edge than usual. There is some anxiety with the Mayan calendar’s “End of the World” prediction and there are rumors that a student has made a threat towards others. We want you to know our principals are aware of the rumors and they are making every effort to trace them (and when they find the sources of rumors, they deal with them appropriately). We are working with our local law enforcement and they plan to provide additional assistance throughout the rest of the week. And, when appropriate, we are having discussions with the students about school safety (and we want you to know the teachers and our school resource officers are providing excellent support). Schools are among the safest places for children, but it takes all of us – school personnel and families – to reassure our children and help them feel safe. Please know that we are committed to keeping our schools safe and welcoming places for your children. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s school principal.”District leaders tell ABC 17 News extra police will be on hand at local schools.

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