Local school leaders receive texts threatening students

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Perspectives Preparatory Academy (PPA) is a tuition-free school catering to the needs of every child.

"We're going to find out how they learn and that is how we are going to teach them," Josh Ungaro, school founder, said.

The mission of PPA is important to Justin Ridgway. He started volunteering his time and donating money earned through boxing matches. Wednesday he received threatening texts messages concerning his family and the school.

"It blew my mind," Ridgway said.

Ridgway says a former business partner, he had not spoken to in a long time, was responsible for the threats. He believes the person targeted the school because he knew it was important to Ridgway.

"I immediately got in contact with Josh," Ridgway said. "Right after I got ahold of him, he started receiving messages."

"I saw that I had some random texts from a number that I didn't know who it was from," Ungaro said.

Ungaro thought the person sending the texts had the wrong number.

"They answered back right away and said, 'who did I dial, who did I text?'" Ungaro said. "I told them my name and that's when they said, 'no I know who I'm texting.' Then they went into the threats that they were making towards the school."

Immediately, Ungaro contacted the Springfield Police Department (SPD). He says they responded quickly. They secured the building. Then, they documented each threatening text.

Thursday officers were at the school in the morning and the afternoon. Ungaro says teachers and staff were also on high alert.

Officials with SPD say a person was arrested Thursday night in connection to the case. Charges are pending so the name is not being released.

"(We have) no relationship with this individual and he is not tied to the school in any way," Ungaro said.

Fortunately, the threats were never carried out. Ungaro says the safety of their students is of the highest importance.