EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (WLS) -- East Chicago, Indiana, police said a teacher is in custody after allegedly telling a student she had a "kill list" for other students and staff at her school.
Police said officers were called to St. Stanislaus School at 4930 Indianapolis Blvd. at about 5 p.m. Wednesday. There, the principal and assistant principal told them a student told their counselor that their fifth grade teacher made comments to them about killing herself, students and staff at the school.
Police said the teacher told the student she had a list and that the student was at the bottom of that list.
"I'm really, like, scared and worried," said Portia Jones, the student involved. "She said she wanted to choke us, and she wanted to kill herself."
"They really need to work on this one because this is something serious," said her father Quiannis Jones. "She's really, probably, not ever going back there."
According to police, the teacher was immediately taken to the principal's office, where she allegedly admitted that she did make those statements and did have a "kill list."
Police say during that conversation the teacher named a specific student on her list, but did not give the full list.
The principal sent the teacher home and told her not to return to the school pending an investigation.
East Chicago police said the student alerted their counselor to the teacher's comments around 12:45 p.m. but police were not called until four hours later, after the teacher was allowed to leave.
"They should have never let her walk out them doors. They should've called the police right then and there. That's a threat on the school," Quiannis Jones said.
Thursday morning, police took the teacher into custody at her Griffith home without incident.
The investigation is ongoing and active, police said. No further details have been released. No charges against the teacher have been announced.
The school's principal says because of concerns over the emotional health of students, classes will be held virtually Friday and counselors will be made available for students and staff.
Full letter from St. Stanislaus School principal
I understand you may be hearing misinformation regarding an incident that took place at St. Stanislaus yesterday. I want to reassure you, that at all times, students were safe, and school continued as normal while we addressed the situation.
We were informed of a concerning report from a student regarding comments made by the student's teacher. The teacher was immediately removed from the classroom and detained while we investigated the incident. After students were safely dismissed, the teacher was escorted off campus and we notified the police. When asked, the police assured us that our facility was safe and that we could proceed with all scheduled learning and school events. We asked if, out of an abundance of caution, it would be advisable to have police in the building and we were further assured that there was no need.
Your student's safety and well-being are our greatest concern. When asked again today, the East Chicago police department restated that we should proceed with regularly scheduled classes. Because we are concerned for the emotional health of students, we are moving to an e-learning day for Friday, October (14). The school counselor will be available for anyone who may wish to talk about this unfortunate incident.
God Bless You All,
Diocese of Gary Office of Catholic Schools Statement
Angelica Foy, the principal of St. Stanislaus School in East Chicago, IN, followed the protocol for a crisis in her building. She ensured the safety of the students, she collaborated with the Office of Catholic Schools, she alerted law enforcement, and continues to be in communication with families and staff regarding the emerging situation.
Under Foy's leadership the students remained safe. She ensured that counselling services were available for those in need. The Diocese of Gary's Catholic Schools Office will continue to work with and support Principal Foy as she navigates this difficult and concerning situation.
ABC7 Chicago has not named the teacher involved because she has not been charged. Students will be learning remotely on Friday.