COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA – A 37-year-old teacher turned herself into authorities earlier in December after she was found to have allegedly written notes left at the school she works at that threatened a school shooting, with the notes written in a manner to suggest they were drafted by a student.
On December 1st, 37-year-old Katrina Marie Phelan, who is a teacher at Abe Lincoln High School, was taken into custody by Council Bluffs Police upon turning herself in on an arrest warrant for three counts of threats of terrorism.
Authorities had caught on to Phelan while they were investigating a series of anonymous handwritten notes that were found in the high school – which all of the notes were either found in Phelan’s classroom or she had managed to find them herself in various locations throughout the school.
While the investigation was still ongoing, security efforts were increased at the school out of an abundance of caution. The exercised caution was reasonable, as one of the four notes discovered read “Friday morning. Suns out. Guns out. Bang, bang. They dead. All of them. Tired of the drama.”
After coming clean to police, Phalen offered a litany of excuses for drafting the notes, with investigators saying she proclaimed “she wasn’t feeling safe in her classroom and felt that kids were very mean to each other, so she wanted someone to ‘handle it.’”
A court affidavit also noted that when Phalen was asked by investigators “why she thought she was writing these notes, she responded by saying that it was out of concern, worry & frustration over the lack of control in her classroom.”
Apparently, Phalen also assumed that the drafted notes would draw “attention” to the notion that school is “not a safe place.”
“When I asked what she was hoping to accomplish by writing these notes, the Defendant said, ‘Maybe attention brought to the fact that it’s not a safe place.’”
Authorities say that they believe Phalen had no intention or means to actually carry out a school shooting herself, but that doesn’t mean she’s off the proverbial hook. With each of the felony counts she’s facing, Phalen could serve up to five years in prison if convicted.