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Plattsmouth school threat: Parents concerned teens not arrested, question protocols

Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 12:23:37-05

While most parents worry about their child’s safety, some in Plattsmouth want to know why two teens accused of planning to shoot up a school there aren’t behind bars.

The lots and classrooms are empty at all Plattsmouth Community Schools today because of two threats.    

Parents were notified of the first threat on Tuesday evening.

Students ages 15 and 16 were picked up for planning an attack on Plattsmouth High School. The district said the weapon they planned to use was accounted for and secured.

Both boys were turned over to their parents and banned from school grounds, but another threat later Tuesday night shut down school Wednesday.

Cari Winchel, whose son is a Plattsmouth High senior, said it’s scary to think about whether her son is safe at school.

“Normally, I do yeah. I’ll second guess it now, obviously," she said. "I want to make sure that the school is safe before I send either one of my boys to school."

Michele Surbaugh, another Plattsmouth parent, said there’s lots of frustration about how it’s been handled.

“We’re a week out of a tragedy where people actually died and to have the communication system fail essentially it was pretty devastating,” Surbaugh said. “I’m mean your first thought is that how do they really know what’s going on and how are they communicating to us the parents that there’s an issue?”

District officials said they’re working to fix issues with parents receiving alerts.

But Surbaugh — and others — want to know why the teens weren’t detained during the entire investigation for the public’s safety.

People are terrified what happened in Florida could happen here, she said.

“In Florida, he was expelled from the school,” she said. “He wasn’t allowed in, and he still got in. So what in the world would make law enforcement decide to send the kids home as opposed to holding them?”

After 5pm Wednesday, the Cass Co. Sheriff's Office said the second threat was unfounded.  There was no new information on the credible threat.

The Cass Co. Sheriff's Office and Plattsmouth Community Schools issued the following statement at 5 p.m. Wednesday: 

The investigation continues into threats at The Plattsmouth High School. This has been an investigation that has needed a lot of interviews and is still an active investigation. Specific facts will be released when it is no longer an active investigation.

What we can say at this point is that the second threat information which was received Tuesday evening has been investigated and appears to be unfounded. As soon as the loose ends in the original investigation are completed there will be an additional informational release posted. When there is any information on legal proceedings we will post that information.

The Plattsmouth Community Schools will be releasing School information, when a decision has been made.

This is a joint media release from the Plattsmouth Community School District and the Cass County Sheriff's Office.

On February 20, 2018, the Plattsmouth High School Administration received creditable information that two male students ages 15 and 16 were planning an attack on the school. The Plattsmouth Community School District, the Cass County Sheriff's Office and the Cass County Attorney's office have been working together on the case. Investigators from the Sheriff’s Office were summoned and will continue their investigation throughout the evening and then again tomorrow. The implicated individuals with their parents have been interviewed regarding the threats. Investigators determined a terroristic plan was being developed, however had not been acted on. Personal property was searched with no additional evidence obtained. The weapon that they had intended to use has been accounted for and has been secured. The two students are in the custody of their parents and have been banned from school grounds. At this time there is no threat to any students, staff or facilities. Investigators are continuing to interview students having direct knowledge of these allegations and ask for any students who have firsthand knowledge to contact the Cass County Sheriff's Office at 402-296-9370.