For the fourth time in as many weeks, a student has been accused of making threats toward Horace Good Middle School.

Garden City police have arrested a 13-year-old male HGMS student whom they say made verbal threats of violence toward another student and the school. The 13-year-old, whose name is not being released because of his age, is being held at the Southwest Juvenile Detention Center on allegations of criminal threat.

According to a media release from the Garden City Police Department, police were notified of the threats at 6:03 pm. Monday, and the arrest was made later that night.

Police have now investigated four separate incidents of threats being made against the school in the last month.

As he has with each case, Horace Good Principal Brad Springston sent a letter electronically to parents and guardians of HGMS students to notify them of the situation and the student’s arrest. A copy of the letter was posted to USD 457 social media accounts.

On April 17, police were notified of a general violent threat made on social media against the school that included a picture of firearms. Police requested the Finney County Attorney’s Office file charges of aggravated criminal threat and criminal false communication against a 14-year-old male HGMS student.

On April 22, police say, another violent threat against the school was made on an anonymous social media platform. Police arrested HGMS student Mariela Galvez, 15, on an allegation of aggravated criminal threat. Police said Galvez created the threat in an attempt to get out of school.

Then on April 28, police received a report of a violent threat perceived as being toward HGMS but that didn't actually mention the school. In that case, police arrested Nick Trung Hang, 14, an eighth-grader who previously attended HGMS, on an allegation of criminal threat.

Each incident led to an increased law enforcement presence at the school the following day.

Urteaga said arrest affidavits on each of the four juvenile suspects have been sent to the Finney County Attorney's Office.

With the suspects all being juveniles, Finney County Attorney Susan Richmeier said it is the policy of her office not to release any information regarding the circumstances of the cases and whether charges have been filed.

"We are, and will continue to work diligently with the school district and our law enforcement partners to come up with appropriate methods of dealing with these juveniles by utilizing all available methods and resources at our disposal," Richmeier said in an email to The Telegram.

She cited the Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Act when outlining her office's approach to such cases.

"... The County Attorney is mandated to look first at alternative programming and/or programming that will seek to rehabilitate offenders without necessarily burdening them with criminal histories which limit their ability to continue their education, engage in military service and find gainful employment. We seek to balance that mandate with the safety of the community and the safety of the juvenile," Richmeier stated in an email.

USD 457 has said that each of the students accused of making the threats has been found to have committed Level Four infractions per district policy, which calls for an immediate 10-day, out-of-school suspension and a potential 186-day expulsion equal to one school year.

 

Contact Brett Riggs at briggs@gctelegram.com.