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January 23, 2019

12/24/2018 11:17:00 AM
Parents air concerns with board over death threat at Barneveld schools

The parents of a high school student at Barneveld high school told the school board Wednesday they are not doing enough to ensure the safety of their son and a teacher who have received death threats from a student who has been expelled.
According to the father, the threats came both verbally and by a SnapChat video with the video now among the evidence collected by Barneveld police.
Following the threat the board met and expelled the student for an undisclosed amount of time. There are also sanctions and requirements the expelled student must meet in order to return.
But Paul and Melanie Markhardt do not feel the board is taking the matter seriously enough. They are also upset they were informed about the matter from a friend before hearing anything from the school.
"If one of our three kids act up you call us immediately and we respond immediately," Paul Markhardt said. "This is much more serious and we heard it from a friend. That is not acceptable."
"This is an actual threat against lives," Paul continued. "This is not to be taken lightly."
He then turned his comments toward board member Jeremy Oyen who is also the Barneveld Chief of Police.
"I don't want that child near my child or the teacher," Paul said. "This is how things got started at Columbine," refering to the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School by deranged students.
He went on to say he plans to have a restraining order issued and said other parents are also considering do this.
"You have a legitimate, documented threat and you have to stand up to it for the students, your teacher and the community," he said.
He continued by saying he feels the expulsion is not enough punishment.
"This is nothing more than a slap on the wrist letting her return in such a short time," he said. "I want something done."
"I get it," said Superintendent Brett Stousland. "I too am concerned but the board is limited by what it can share."
Stousland said he and the board are aware of what was on the video and Oyen said the Markhardts are welcome to come view that part that pertaining to their son.
"The ball was dropped here," Paul then said. "Let's not let it get to the next step. By letting her come back you are opening a big loophole. You've got a problem here and you have to address it."
"This is out of control and you can do more," Paul said. "Don't drop the ball on our kids. You have the power to do something more."
In a later interview Stousland confirmed a hearing was held. He added that Oyen stepped away from the board during the process and his only involvement was as Chief of Police.
"To our knowledge this is an isolated incident and there have been no other threats," Stousland said.
"We worry about all the kids in our building," he added. "We want everyone to feel safe here and the board feels the same way."
In a later interview Chief Oyen said the matter is now in the hands of the Iowa County District Attorney and the Department of Social Services. He confirmed that he was not at the expulsion hearing, had no vote and has received no information about the hearing from the board.
"The moment it became a police matter I recused myself," Oyen said. "I will continue to sit out whenever this matter goes before the board."
He also added he does not feel the community is in any danger.





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