Student backpacks were searched and extra deputies patrolled Northeastern High School on Monday after a threat of violence was found on a bathroom stall.
The message was found by students on a bathroom stall wall after school was dismissed Friday afternoon. It was reported to school officials, who contacted the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Superintendent Lou Kramer did not release specifics of the message but said it specified an act of violence would take place Monday. It did not specifically target any students by name or group, he said.
“In this day and age, we have to take those (threats) seriously, and we have to make some decisions to step up security measures,” Kramer said.
Parents received an automated call Sunday, and a message was also posted on the district’s web page. About 500 students attend the school in grades 9-12, and there is also a preschool class there. Kramer said they didn’t have an official head count, but the majority of students attended classes Monday. However, some parents did call the school and inform officials their children would not be in class because of the threat, he said.
Heightened security was in place throughout the day, with several educational service officers and deputies from the sheriff’s office stationed at the school. Backpacks were searched upon entry into the school, and students were told to report to the gym before classes for a message from the principal, Kramer said.
Written threats have become more common in recent years. In February, an 18-year-old student was indicted on a felony count of inducing panic for writing a bomb threat on a bathroom wall at Urbana High School. The school was placed on lockdown and students were evacuated. Authorities later determined it was a hoax.
In a Facebook post asking Northeastern parents their thoughts on the threat, respondents had mixed feelings.
Jill Tordiff Parker said she thinks the district took the right action.
“I think they showed a reasonable level of caution while trying to avoid panic, and my daughters have felt safe at school today. That is what matters,” Parker said.
Waiting until Sunday to notify parents was too long, said Misty Bowsher-Vermillion.
“We should have been made aware soon, especially since there was a home game Friday night and three football games held at South Vienna on Sunday,” she said. “We all would have probably been more aware of our surroundings and been on alert had we known.”
The threat is under investigation. Kramer said the perpetrator will face suspension and the possibility of expulsion as well as criminal charges.