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Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 @ 7:46 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 6:04 PM
SPRINGFIELD — UPDATE @ 4 p.m. April 8
Springfield police arrested an 18-year-old student for leaving a threat last month that shut down his school — Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center.
Daniel L. Ratliff was arrested Wednesday morning in the 1900 block of Selma Road, according to the Springfield police report.
Ratliff allegedly wrote this message on a bathroom wall at the school: “I’m going to shoot up the school, Thursday the 26th,” according to the report.
Police said he admitted to writing the message but said he had no intention of carrying it out.
He said he was worried about graduating because of problems he was having in an academic class, according to the report.
The school shut down on March 26 because of the threat.
UPDATE @ 6:04 p.m. March 26
School officials canceled classes Thursday at the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center to investigate threats found written on a bathroom wall.
The threat was found as students were leaving the campus Wednesday afternoon, said Superintendent Rick Smith.
The message did not reveal any sort of explosive device was at the school, Smith said, but it was a “specific” threat.
“You can’t take these things lightly in today’s world,” said Smith, who did not provide further details on what the message said.
Classes resume Friday for a half day as originally scheduled. However, Springfield police will have a presense on campus to put students, staff and families at ease, Smith said.
Smith said he and police conferred Wednesday evening and decided students should not be on campus Thursday as administrators and police continued to investigate. A phone message was sent around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to students’ homes to alert them to the closing.
Officers and investigators returned to review surveillance video and look into the threat Thursday, said Springfield police Capt. Lee Graf.
Threats made at schools are taken much more seriously in today’s world than they were 20 years ago, Graf said. Police and school reaction post-Columbine and Sept. 11 has changed response protocols, he added.
Students and parents were thankful for the caution school officials and police took to close the school Thursday. They also have no doubt the perpetrator will be caught.
“There’s lots and lots of cameras; there’s like cameras all over the building,” said CTC senior Zachary Brown.
Whoever posted the threat will face charges of making a false alarm, police said, which in this case would likely be a felony due to the closure.
A bomb threat closed the school about five years ago, Smith said, but this is the first threat since then that has forced a closing. The school was put on lockdown last year for a short period of time due to a threat, archives show.
FIRST REPORT, @ 7:46 p.m. March 25: A threat has canceled classes Thursday at the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center.
Superintendent Rick Smith said a threat was found after school was dismissed today, and that administrators and Springfield police are working to conduct a thorough investigation.
Smith said the concern did not involve a bomb threat, but he didn’t disclose what the threat stated.
“I don’t want to hinder the police investigation but it was a specific threat to our school,” Smith said.
Classes were canceled for Thursday for student safety and to allow administrators and police to review school security footage.
“There is no higher priority than the well-being of our students. On the advice of local law enforcement we believe it necessary to cancel school and all school events, including field trips,” Smith said.
Smith said the suspect identified “will be punished to the full extent.”