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Crestview Middle latest area school emptied by threat

December 7, 2012
Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA For the third time in nine days a bomb threat was made at a county school.

Bringing truth to East Liverpool Superintendent James Herring's chilling warning this week that a threat would likely happen "someplace else," a similar threat was made at the Crestview Middle School on Friday.

Herring had made the statement Thursday following the incident in which a student found a threatening message on a stall door that a bomb was going to explode in the East Liverpool High School building. The threat happened exactly a week after a similar threat was made in the Beaver Local School District on Nov. 29.

In both cases, and at Crestview on Friday, the threats were found as messages written on boys' bathroom walls or stall doors.

Crestview Local School District Superintendent John Dilling said a student found the message on a middle school bathroom wall around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

According to the county sheriff's report, the message said, "I'm going to bomb the school at 2:30 p.m."

The student who came across the message reported the threat to the school principal, and Dilling then notified the county sheriff's office. The district immediately activated its crisis response procedure, ushering the roughly 700 students at the middle and high schools from the buildings on Crestview Road to the elementary school on Middleton Road.

The high school students were also evacuated because the building is connected to the middle school.

Students remained in the elementary school for about two hours while county sheriff's officials and the New Waterford Police Department searched for explosives, which were not found.

No other suspicious items or messages were uncovered in the search that ended at 11:30 a.m., Dilling said.

As with East Liverpool, surveillance footage of the area leading to the restroom will be reviewed as the district and police search for the person responsible, he added.

"Our staff did a great, great job. Our bus drivers mobilized quickly. We were able to move the students from the high school and middle school to the elementary through the buses. Staff at the elementary were able to keep students calm at the elementary and staff at the middle school and high school were able to stay with the students and everything worked out well," he said.

Students were back at the middle and high school buildings shortly after the police search, but were on a slight delay that included having lunch later than usual. The students were still dismissed from school at the regular time in the afternoon, however.

Dilling said that in his 15 years as superintendent he had never experienced a bomb threat in the district. He indicated the threat could have something to do with the previous threats throughout the county.

"I think sometimes they see what happens in other schools" and attempt to copy that, he said.

The student suspected to be responsible for the Beaver Local bomb threat was arrested by the sheriff's department on Nov. 29 and taken to the Louis Tobin Juvenile Center in Lisbon. He was implicated following interviews conducted with students and teachers.

Dilling did not wish to comment on whether students at the Crestview Middle School had already come forward with information that could lead to the discovery of who is responsible for the Friday threat.



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