(Natural News) A Council Bluffs, Iowa, high school teacher could be on the hook for up to 15 years in prison after being arrested on terrorism charges for allegedly leaving fake threatening notes around the campus.
Katrina Phelan, 37, formerly a teacher at Abe Lincoln High School, was arrested last week for allegedly devising a series of threats about gun violence, reports noted.
“[D]etectives conducted an investigation into a series of anonymous handwritten notes found inside the school, all making reference to committing gun violence upon school property,” the Council Bluffs Police Department said in a press release. “Each of the notes were [sic] reportedly either found in Phelan’s classroom or found by Phelan herself, in various locations within the school.”
“When interviewed, Phelan admitted to writing the notes,” the police department release continued. “It was determined that she had no intentions or means of carrying out these threats. In at least one of the notes, Phelan, posing as an unnamed student, wrote that she was tired of being made fun of.”
Law & Crime added more details:
Law enforcement noted that the teacher turned herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest.
As a result of the notes, police said, the school district and law enforcement worked together “to increase the security presence inside the building.”
Initially, according to an affidavit, Phelan admitted to writing three of the notes and that they were written on paper she obtained from her classroom. But while she confirmed that it was her handwriting on the notes, she could not recall having written them, KETV7 reported.
Additionally, the affidavit says that when police asked her why she had written the notes, she claimed that “it was out of concern, worry, and frustration over the lack of control of her classroom.”
Asked what she possibly hoped to accomplish with the notes, police investigators said that the teacher told them it was to perhaps bring more attention to her belief that the school is “not a safe place.”
She now faces at least three counts of making threats of terrorism, all of which are class D felonies and each count of which carries a maximum five-year sentence.
Meanwhile, parents told KETV7 that they still felt safe in sending their children to the high school.
“I feel very reassured that they’re doing the right things and it’s swift and taken care of and things are being done appropriately,” parent Kelli Blair told the outlet.
Others were perplexed by the situation.
“If it’s a kid you can kind of.. their brain’s not grown yet, but for an adult to do such a thing, I just can’t even, it’s incredible,” said one grandparent.
The school sent out a memo to parents informing them of the situation:
The Council Bluffs Police Department has concluded its investigation into the threatening notes found at school a few weeks ago. They have determined the source of the notes to be a school employee. Investigators concluded there was no intent or means to carry out the threats. However, the employee has been charged with a crime, has voluntarily surrendered to the police, and will no longer be employed by the Council Bluffs Schools. We appreciate the detectives and their diligence in solving this crime.
During that investigation, students provided us with information that was helpful. This is what we expect from students at ALHS.
We want all students, parents and staff members to have confidence that our schools are safe and supportive environments.