Teacher Allegedly Left Handwritten Notes at School Threatening Violence: Police

A high school teacher in Iowa turned herself into authorities after a warrant was issued for her arrest in connection with a series of handwritten notes threatening violence on campus, police said Wednesday.

The teacher allegedly admitted to writing the notes herself during an interview with law enforcement officials, authorities said.

The teacher was identified by police as Katrina Phelan, a 37-year-old employee at the Council Bluffs Community School District. The district is one of four school systems located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Local media reports identified Phelan as a teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, one of 16 educational facilities listed within the district's schools directory.

Teacher handwritten notes school violence
A teacher allegedly admitted to writing notes that threatened violence on a school campus, police in Iowa said Wednesday. Above, handcuffs hold barricades together at a rally outside the Aurora Police Department Headquarters on June 27, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

In a press release issued Wednesday by the Council Bluffs Police Department, authorities said Phelan arrived earlier in the day at the Pottawattamie County Jail to turn herself in. A warrant had already been issued for her arrest, police said in the release.

Police said the arrest warrant charged Phelan with three counts of "Threats of Terrorism." The charges are defined by Iowa state law as: "A person who threatens to commit terrorism or threatens to cause terrorism to be committed and who causes a reasonable expectation or fear of the imminent commission of such an act of terrorism commits a class 'D' felony."

Council Bluffs police confirmed in their release that all three charges Phelan is facing are for class D felonies. Each of the three charges could result in up to five years behind bars, police added.

The warrant for Phelan's arrest was issued after detectives investigated "a series of anonymous handwritten notes" that were found inside the high school. All of the notes were "making reference to committing gun violence upon school property," the press release said.

The notes were found "in various locations within the school," with some discovered in Phelan's classroom, police said. Phelan was reported to have located some of the notes herself, according to the release.

Phelan told authorities she was the one who wrote the notes, police said in the release. In one note, she allegedly drafted the note's contents as if she were an unidentified student claiming to be "tired of being made fun of," police said.

"It was determined that she had no intentions or means of carrying out these threats," police said.

School district officials had coordinated with law enforcement to boost security around the school as the Council Bluffs Police Department's investigation into the handwritten notes was underway, the release said.

Newsweek reached out to the district for comment.