McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 1, 2013

Football game set to continue in wake of unsubstantiated threat; bags may be subject to search

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — McAlester Public School Superintendent Marsha Gore said Friday afternoon there had been an unsubstantiated threat regarding McAlester Public Schools — but that plans called for  tonight’s last scheduled home game with Skiatook to go on as scheduled.

“Upon investigation, the threat has not been substantiated and we do not think anyone is in danger, but we have taken extra security measures at tonight’s game,” Gore said Friday afternoon.

“Please be aware that all bags and backpacks are subject to be searched. In addition, no one will be allowed on the field without prior clearance,” Gore said Friday afternoon, Nov. 1.

McAlester Police Chief Gary Wansick said Friday McAlester police have been contacted.

“We are aware of it and are working in conjunction with campus police,” Wansick said. He said he had attended a meeting regarding the matter with the campus police and school officials.

“We discussed it and assessed the situation,” Wansick said. He said the police’s shift commander is working with the campus police regarding any manpower needs.

Gore said the threat reportedly came in the form of an overheard conversation, that was reported several times removed. The person who supposedly overheard the conversation did not know the  individuals allegedly involved, according to Gore.

The alleged threat, which school officials stressed again had not been substantiated, allegedly involved a gun.

Gore stressed that school officials feel the validity of the threat has not been substantiated. She said she wants to keep the community informed.

“We want to take every precaution,” she said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure everyone’s all right.”

 Gates for the game are set to open at 5:30 p.m., with the first event set at 6:30 p.m., followed by the game

“Tonight is senior night and we look forward to honoring all of our seniors and their families who participate in cheerleading, POM, Peppers band and football,” Gore said in a statement regarding the matter.

Cheer, POM, Peppers and football will be honored at 6:30 p.m., with the game set to begin at 7 p.m. Band members will be honored at half-time.