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Parents are scared after email threats circulate around Mishawaka school

NOW: Parents are scared after email threats circulate around Mishawaka school

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - An email thread threatening several students was sent out to the entire John Young Middle School student body Monday night.

Mishawaka police say Wednesday morning a student admitted to going into another student’s school email account and sending the emails, but parents are still scared about what was said and that the school didn’t know about it.

The emails included threats to named and unnamed students and even a picture of a half-dressed woman.

Parents are upset at the school’s response and are worried about their kids’ safety, some even keeping their kids home from school on Wednesday.

“This is getting absolutely out of hand. Absolutely out of hand,” Anna Murphy, who has a daughter in 8th grade, said.

Monday night, students from John Young Middle School in Mishawaka logged in to their school emails to find several messages threatening students’ lives.

Including one that read quote “to all that reads this”, a student whose name we’ve blurred out is “going to die.” Another one saying “our hero is going to die.” Other messages had inappropriate pictures of a woman.

Now some parents are worried about their children’s safety.

“I definitely don’t feel like she’s safe they may think that they know who is behind all of the emails but the fact that any of the students were threatened makes none of the students safe. None of them,” Murphy said.

“I’m scared. It’s scary to see that there’s kids sending emails like that that are talking about any kind of death or anything like that,” Natasha Cole, who has a daughter in 7th grade, said.

Cole is just one parent who pulled her kids out of school for the day as a precaution.

“At this point, my kids had to stay home from school because I’m not going to send them with those worries in my head that are they even going to come home from school today,” she said.

The John Young school principal sent out a statement on the schools Facebook page blaming someone else for using the student’s email, saying:

“I want to provide you with another update in regards to the inappropriate email that was sent out to all JYMS students. This morning the student responsible for accessing another student’s email account without permission was identified and admitted their guilt.”

Cole said the school should’ve handled it better.

“No email, no call, no kind of note being sent home. Nothing like that. Just this letter they posted on Facebook,” she said.

Murphy says this shouldn’t have happened in the first place and that the school issues laptops to its students for classwork. She said school officials are supposed to be monitoring what happens on the laptops.

“The staff needs to be more alert to what’s going on. They need to be more caring. They need to be more involved. We need more staff that actually wants to jump into things. Want to resolve issues,” Murphy said.

In the release, the school did say sent that they take school safety and security seriously.

To prevent this from happening again, the school’s tech department has taken mass email capabilities away from the students.

The email threats bring into question bullying at the school. According to the Indiana Department of Education, in 2018, John Young Middle School reported 0 physical bullying incidents, 2 verbal bullying, 1 social/relational bullying and 0 written or online bullying incidents.

Murphy said her daughter has experienced verbal and online bullying at the school and claims those numbers are not accurate.

“There is bullying that goes on all the time at John Young and nothing is done about it ever. It’s all swept under the rug and there is no resolution to any conflict that ever happens at John Young,” Murphy said.

As for the student who sent the email, Mishawaka police say it’s up to the Juvenile Justice Center to determine if any charges will be filed.

ABC57 has reached out to the school administration for more information but have yet to hear back.

Parents say they plan on heading to the Mishawaka School Board meeting on Wednesday night.

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