By Shawn Byrne
Hours after allegedly making threats to shoot a teacher and other students, a Wickenburg Christian Academy pupil was arrested and charged with two felonies on Sept. 24.
The student reportedly shared threats verbally with another student, who notified the school’s administration later that evening. WCA Head of School Kevin Armstrong told The Sun he called police at once.
“I called immediately,” Armstrong said. “The phone didn’t even leave my ear.”
Wickenburg Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Amy Sloane said in a statement that WPD received the call from Armstrong just before 9 p.m.
Investigators made contact with the 15-year-old student accused of making the threats and his family at their Wickenburg home. The student was detained, interviewed, and at the conclusion of the probe he was taken to Maricopa County Durango Juvenile Facility.
Armstrong and the staff at Wickenburg Christian Academy held a questions-and-answers meeting for WCA families, students, and staff Friday, Sept. 27.
The head of school posted on the WCA’s Facebook page several steps the school will take as a result of the incident, including “implementing a texting service for use in emergency situations and other school programming.” Administrators will also be reviewing policies regarding backpacks, research upgrades for perimeter security and options available to manage building access. A video surveillance system was also discussed with a possible fundraising effort to take place.
“It was a good chance to review the many things we have in place,” Armstrong said. “No matter how good your procedures, there is always more to look at.”
The juvenile was arrested for terroristic threats and interference with an educational institution.
“We want to be supportive of the family, and we’re concerned for them,” the head of school said. “They are still part of the WCA family though the student is no longer here at the school.”
WCA serves about 100 students in grades K-12 and another 30 in its preschool program.