“Not credible” threat at Grissom High causes continued parental concern

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville City School system has been working on communicating better following incidents that they are investigating within the schools. Just this week, WHNT News 19 heard from Superintendent Matt Akin on the subject of recent threats and how the district is prepared to handle possible other incidents within schools. Now, another one has been reported at Grissom High School.

The school system said the verbal threat was determined not to be credible, and the student who is believed to be responsible has been removed from the school campus.

The school system provided WHNT News 19 with the email Becky Balentine, the principal, sent to parents Thursday morning in an effort to keep them informed:

Good morning parents,
I wanted to let you know that my administration received information about a verbal threat directed at our school, and we have investigated that threat and determined it was not credible. We treat all threats as if they are serious, using all available resources, including our security department and law enforcement, to investigate. The student responsible for making this threat has been removed from our campus.

Although this threat has no credibility, we wanted to make you aware of the situation to keep you informed. Please take a moment and remind your children that making any threat on a public school, business or other establishment is never a joke. The district will continue to impose the strongest penalty possible on individuals responsible.
If you or your child has any information they feel is important, please share with me or my school staff.

Thank you,
Becky Balentine

Concerns have swirled for months, particularly after a threatening student Snapchat video surfaced last semester. Soon after, the district held a public meeting to hear from parents and community members about these issues.

Now that more threats have been made, some parents are speaking out.

One woman spoke to WHNT News 19 on the condition that she would not be identified. She said that what disturbs her is that the threats continue.

"If they [the school system] were doing something about it, it wouldn't keep happening," she stated.

She said her children fear going to school, especially following what happened in Florida. She doesn't want the non-credible threats in Huntsville to become credible.

"They tell me they don't want to go to school. They are in fear to go to school," she said. "Kids should be able to go to school and learn and not be afraid of a threat happening."

This parent said she had recently considered homeschool, particularly after the Florida school shooting. Above all, she wants students to know they are safe and for the threats to Grissom High School to stop.

"I would suggest maybe metal detectors or something like that. Maybe more police in the schools," she offered. "I realize that's going to take away from something else, but that's the safety of our children."

At the community meeting in November, district leaders said the metal detectors were a possibility.

"We are considering it," Al Lankford, Security Operations Coordinator, had said at the time. "We are looking at the best possible way we can place metal detectors. We can't just place metal detectors in one school. It has to be district-wide."