TAMA NEWS-HERALD - School and police officials did not down play on Tuesday precautions taken at the Meskwaki Settlement School and South Tama Schools for a time on Monday. Nor did they link the actions put in place at the schools to each other. South Tama Superintendent Kerri Nelson said vandalism and a break-in at the STC High School which occurred Sunday night or early Monday morning had “no connection” to a one-half hour lockdown Monday morning. She said the action was taken due to something which took place in another school district. Nelson declined to identify the other school district or information concerning the incident. Jerry Stephens, Meskwaki Settlement School superintendent, said his school went into “alert status in the morning (Monday), acting in a precautionary manner, after rumors circulated about an individual coming to do harm to the school or students.” He said “text messaging” among some older students is suspected in resulting in about one-third of the 350-member student body staying out of school on Monday. The text-messaging was not how the threat was circulated, however. Classes went on as normal during the day Monday, Stephens said. Stephens and Chris Knouse, acting Meskwaki Nation Tribal Police chief, said police and school officials worked together throughout the day. Nelson said South Tama Schools were locked down from 8:30 a.m.- 9 a.m. The lockdown “was for a very temporary period of time (to allow) school officials to find out information from police. Once (information) was verified, it was lifted.” Tama Police Chief Dan Wilkens said Monday investigation into the South Tama High School incidnets was continuing and a number of interviews had been conducted.
STC VANDALISM, BREAK-IN 'NOT RELATED' TO LOCK DOWN- A maintenance employee uses a power washer to clean syrup, ketchup and paint from the entrance doors to South Tama High School early Monday morning. Vandals covered both north and south sets of main doors with the mess and broke into the shop area of the school where floors and walls were damaged according to Tama Police. Interviews in the investigation were underway Monday night police said. South Tama School Superintendent Kerri Nelson said no damage estimate was yet available on Tuesday. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them - 641-484-3223. News-Herald/John Speer