Charges pending in WHS phone hoax

Two Waterloo High School students may be charged with criminal offenses following a Thursday evening phone prank.

The Waterloo Police Department plans to submit paperwork to the Monroe County State’s Attorney to consider charges of disorderly conduct against the two male WHS juniors allegedly responsible for the prank.

Police said the two students somehow obtained a list of phone numbers and sent “robocalls” to an estimated 500 or more parents of WHS students, falsely claiming the school would be closed Friday due to a gas leak.>>>

“That’s about the only charge we can find for what they did,” Waterloo Police Chief Jim Trantham said of the pending charges.

On Tuesday, Monroe County State’s Attorney Kris Reitz said he had not yet received final paperwork from police on the matter but intends to go forward with the case.

Waterloo school superintendent Jim Helton said the district quickly sent out phone calls of its own Thursday night to all homes within the WHS community, advising them of the hoax and assuring them that classes would be held Friday as originally scheduled.

As for potential disciplinary action by school officials, Helton had this to say:

“(Thursday’s) prank call to various students/parents regarding WHS being closed was verified as generated by specific students,” he stated in an email. “Our policies and regulations guide us in our response; there will be appropriate consequences for the inappropriate action.”

Helton also stressed that no school district database was “hacked” as part of the prank and the extent of data utilized by the students was limited to names and phone numbers.

“No current databases of confidential information were breached,” Helton assured. “Our student data management system and school messenger systems maintain their integrity.”

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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