Columbiana investigates alleged school threat

COLUMBIANA — City police and school officials are continuing to investigate an alleged threat at the high school.

Police Chief Tim Gladis confirmed Wednesday that police received a call last Friday from a woman who said her son told her a freshman student at the school had a “list of names” and believed the student was targeting individuals for a potential shooting at the school.

Gladis said that police were unable to find evidence the student actually made a threat and no charges have been filed at this point, although the matter remains under investigation.

He said the student also did not post anything on social media about any threats.

Both Gladis and Superintendent Don Mook said there was no credible threat of violence at the school, and neither the police investigation nor the school’s own investigation uncovered sufficient evidence of a threat.

According to the police report, the student allegedly made comments during his science class about watching school shootings on YouTube three weeks ago, but the comments were not reported to school staff or police until Friday.

Gladis said the student admitted during investigation interviews that he watched the videos, but said it was only because he became interested after a speech team gave a speech during class about school shootings, and the team had also shown a video presentation.

He also told police that the list of names in his notebook was a list of people who had helped him through difficult times in his life.

One of those names belonged to Patrolman Kevin Kloss, who was investigating the report and also knew the student through Boy Scouts.

Gladis said that Kloss never had any problems with the student.

The student told police he did not make any threats and said he never had any intentions of harming anyone at the school and said he was not being harassed at the school.

According to the report, a student who had recently transferred to the district from another district told another student that the boy in question had talked about “shooting the place up” during science class, but during the police investigation it was found that the student had not actually heard the comments, but had allegedly heard from someone else.

The report stated that other students in the class were not aware of any comments of that nature being made or remember the student making any threats.

“With this additional information it does seem strange that no one from the class where this was supposed to have occurred seems to remember the event,” Kloss wrote in the report.

Gladis said the student in question has since decided to attend another school district and is no longer enrolled in Columbiana.

Mook did not wish to comment on that, due to federal education privacy laws.

“Safety is our number one concern. Fortunately we have a tremendous working relationship with our police department. We work really, really well with them. We feel really comfortable this is a safe place,” Mook said.

He added that the alleged threat did not result in any school cancellations or early dismissals.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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