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For immediate release: September 22, 2021

On September 21, 2021, The Linn County Sheriff’s Office was given information that a student at Pleasanton USD #344 was bringing a knife to school. Information led Deputies to believe that the student may want to harm others.

The student, who is 15 years of age, was detained before the school day started by Law Enforcement and school officials. The student’s backpack was searched, and a dagger was found within. The student made up stories to justify the carrying of the dagger. Then the student was presented with text messages that were revealed to Deputies that the student had sent to others. The student was concerned as others were talking behind the students back and the student was carrying the knife for protection. Text messages sent by the student indicated that the student would harm others with the dagger, if it was necessary.

This is a situation that we would rarely release to the public. We would rarely talk about the behind-the-scenes details, but with County Officials talking about their displeasure and discussing the defunding of the School Resource Program we are forced to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes activities to show our citizens our response and the importance of the School Resource Program.

In the past, we quietly handled these issues without publication. This is no longer an option as governmental officials wish to defund our program and leave Linn County students safety at risk. I assure you that I am opposed to this measure, as are other law enforcement officials about Linn County. We see the value of the School Resource Program, daily, others do not as they are separated from our community and for some reason fail to understand the value of law enforcement in schools. I was going to fill this press release with statistics, but you can research those issues, the internet is full of horror stories.

 I am sad that we live in a world where a child would take a dagger to school, all while indicating ill intentions for its use. I am grateful that we had personnel at the facility on this random day to deal with the situation. I am grateful that we had the technology in our hands to immediately circumvent what could have happened. I thank the School Resource Officers, the Pleasanton Police Department and USD #344 Officials for their response to what could have ended differently.

Kevin J. Friend

Sheriff of Linn County

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