The Paducah (KY) Sun received a letter Monday from a high school student who claimed a classmate “has brought weapons twice” to school and “has yet to be punished for anything.”
The newspaper shared the letter with the sheriff’s department, but didn’t reveal the author’s name.
“The letter does not contain any specific threats of violence, just the student’s observations,” the Sun notes, but still the Paducah middle school and high school are closed today.
The sheriff put out a press release late Monday claiming the letter “contained a serious threat” and that “when myself and a detective requested the letter, as well as the authors [sic] name and phone number which was attached to the letter, our request was denied, citing ethical obligations to protect the newspapers sources.”
The sheriff’s release continues:
It was decided for the safety of the students, that school will be cancelled and the school will not be in session until the threat has been adequately investigated. The closure includes the Reidland Middle School only as an extra precaution due to the two school buildings being attached.
Efforts to obtain the much needed information from the Paducah Sun will continue.
The newspaper is getting slammed in the comments below the sheriff’s release on Facebook: “Wow! Talk about ethical obligations! Everyone should cancel their subscription to the Paducah Sun!” Another person wrote: “Obstruction charges should be filed if legal and the powers that be over the sun should be jailed.”
The paper says it’s consulting a lawyer about identifying the letter-writer’s name.
I’ve asked editor Duke Conover for comment.