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Davey Parents Upset Over Lack of Communication About Threat

The Davey Elementary PTO held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the threat and the district's response.

Parents of Davey Elementary students are not happy about how they didn't learn of a school shooting threat until nearly a week after it happened.

According to Kent police, Rachel A. Gauntner issued the violent threat on Jan. 31 while airing criticisms to a teacher about the level of education her special needs son was receiving.

The teacher and another eyewitness reported Gauntner even referenced the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, said Kent Police Lt. Jim Prusha.

The teacher waited until the next morning (Feb. 1) to report the threat, saying she wanted to check with the school’s administration on how to proceed.

The Davey Parent Teacher Organization held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the threat and the district's response. A Patch reporter was denied access to the meeting.

Parents took to social media to share their frustrations with the district's lack of communication about the incident, many saying they didn't know until it was reported in the news Wednesday.

Take our poll: How do you think the school district should have handled the threat?

One parent shared with Kent Patch an email she sent to Superintendent Joseph Giancola about how the district handled the incident:

"At the top of my mind is how can you have chosen not to notify parents and take actions to cancel school until the threat was investigated and the school grounds deemed to be safe?" the parent wrote. "We have received countless phone calls from you on safety topics that were the result of misunderstandings, yet on this direct verbal threat to teachers and students on school grounds — you remained silent."

Here are a few things other readers said about the situation:

  • Amanda Cubbison: "I find it amazing that my son goes to that school and was never informed of the threat until just now by your posting." Cubbison wrote that in response to a post on Kent Patch's Facebook page informing parents of the threat.
  • Peter Heroux: "I agree that this is not how I want to find out about any news of this nature," Heroux wrote in response to Cubbison's post. "I want to know about this immediately after it happens."
  • Pat: "I am amazed that Kent City Schools have not already trained their teachers on how to handle threats."
Laurel Myers Hurst February 07, 2013 at 10:51 PM
I love doughnuts: I believe there is a point at which the administration, through exhaustive instant notifications, runs the risk of making children so fearful at school that academic outcomes are affected. Having parents rush onto the scene in hysteria fosters such fearfulness. I realize there is, currently, a concerted effort to build hysteria related to guns and to make people irrationally fearful of guns. To some degree that will inevitably affect our community. However, the guns are not to be feared; people determined to do violence should be feared. The PERSON threatening violence should have been taken seriously, and should have been reported immediately. If possible, the person should have been detained as soon as he or she walked out of the building or should have been met at home by police. We may forcefully disagree on this subject, but, in my opinion, the lack of administrative notification, not parent notification, is the shocking part of this story.
Jim Williams February 08, 2013 at 12:16 AM
So much fear, totally out of proportion to the actual level of violence. Laurel makes a good point about the effect of notifying parents for every perceived threat. Imagine the number of crank "threat" calls that would occur if they cancelled school/called parents for every one, most phoned in by students wanting a day off. Can we all take a deep breath and be reasonable about this? Kent City Schools have a stellar record of dealing with both real and imagined dangers, and they should be given the benefit of the doubt. I have every confidence that the teacher understood the potential, and contacted the right people in the right order. KPD acted appropriately. Is there a very slim possibility of violence in our schools? Absolutely. Should we cower in fear because of that chance? No.
silly sally February 08, 2013 at 12:54 AM
wow! an intelligent comment on patch. kudos.
Kent resident February 08, 2013 at 03:51 AM
I'm confused on the "real threat" comment Teresa, I heard that the woman that made the threat is currently in jail so there must be something to this, right?
Kent resident February 08, 2013 at 03:55 AM
I guess what it comes down to is since the communication wasn't the same day like when we get calls for potential parking issues due to a football game, gossip flies. The principle stated she knew of the matter within the hour, how it transpired after that remains questionable but what about superintendent notification immediately following and then lockdown until authoities make an assessment. Then parent notification within 12 hours instead of several days. Where is the procedure? Someone made an epic failure in judgement and they need to own up to it.

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