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Update: Unfounded rumor leads to second investigation in Hudson schools

A heightened police presence was at Hudson Middle School Tuesday, March 14, after a student's threat was investigated by an officer. The threat was not deemed credible. File photo

Hudson school officials put a safety plan in place briefly Wednesday morning following rumors of a threat on the heels of a different threat the previous night.

A district email said two buildings — Hudson Middle School and Hudson Prairie Elementary — were placed under a “temporary hold” for 12 minutes while administrators and police investigated “a rumored threat.”

“Law enforcement and administration quickly determined the rumor was not credible,” the email states.

The hold, which allows classes to continue but restricts student movement in buildings, was issued at 10:30 a.m. — minutes after some Hudson High School students participated in a nationwide walkout in recognition of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting massacre’s one-month anniversary.

Classes and activities at both Hudson buildings returned to normal after the hold was lifted.

The hold came in the wake of a separate incident from Tuesday night that left some on edge.

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said a threat reported the evening of March 13 at Hudson Middle School led to an officer visiting a student’s home, where he conducted interviews and searched for weapons. Jensen said none were found.

The student allegedly made reference to “shooting up the school,” Jensen said.

“We don’t believe there was any credible threat,” the chief said Wednesday morning. “But in this day and age, you’ve got to make sure you take all the necessary precautions.”

In response to the incident, there will be a discernible police presence at both the middle school and Hudson High School, where a walkout was staged Wednesday morning.

“We wanted parents to feel a little extra safe,” Jensen said.

The threat-related incident was outlined in a letter from the district to parents, which also describes the extra security students are seeing Wednesday.

“Staff will continue to utilize existing safety plan procedures and monitor this situation,” Superintendent Nick Ouellette said in the letter. “These measures help ensure our buildings are as safe as possible for all who learn and work in the Hudson Schools.”

The letter goes on to encourage families to report “concerning statements” as soon as possible to school officials — “no matter if they think the student is ‘just kidding’ or ‘just joking,’” Ouellette wrote.

Jensen said the student in Tuesday’s report doesn’t live in Hudson and was released to his parents after the officer visited the home. The case will be referred to juvenile court.

“We are working on taking corrective action,” Jensen said.

The threat came one day shy of the one-month anniversary of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Florida. Jensen said that means “everybody’s a little bit more sensitive toward it,” just as police and community members were last month in Orono, Minnesota, following a student’s alleged threat there.

“We take it very seriously,” Jensen said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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