Graham Local Schools threat not credible

Published: Monday, May 04, 2015 @ 9:16 AM
Updated: Monday, May 04, 2015 @ 6:38 PM


            Deputies respond to online threat at Graham High School
Deputies respond to online threat at Graham High School

UPDATE @ 6:25 p.m.

An online threat prompted Graham Local Schools to place deputies in multiple buildings Monday morning, but some parents were concerned they weren’t informed about the investigation earlier.

A Facebook threat mentioning Graham High School was found online and someone in Canada called the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday to report it, Superintendent Norm Glismann said.

Content Continues Below

An investigation determined the threat wasn’t credible, Glismann said, and law enforcement and district leaders decided together to keep school open and not alert parents about the incident.

“We decided not to keep kids home or to incite panic by notifying parents in the community,” he said.

Student and staff safety was the district’s first priority when responding to the threat, Glismann said.

But word of the deputies at the school buildings Monday spread quickly and scared some parents, said Ginger Perkins, who has a daughter at the high school.

“We should have been notified one way or another — that’s our choice whether to make the decision to take the threat seriously or not,” Perkins said.

Dozens of parents came to the school to sign their children out of classes Monday morning and weren’t happy the district didn’t tell them of the threat.

After he listened to parents’ reactions, Glismann said he will review whether withholding the information was the best decision.

“I’m not going to say it wasn’t the right decision, but based on feedback I’ve received, I’d certainly consider other options,” he said.

Threats at the school district are rare, Glismann said, but all of them need to be looked into seriously.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Police Division and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Cyber-Crimes Unit investigated the social media post thoroughly, the sheriff’s office said in a prepared statement Monday.

Rumors spread through the halls when deputies were there, sophomore Cierra Lowe said, but students weren’t given an explanation as to why deputies were in the building.

“It was scary,” she said. “Everyone was trying to get to their classes quickly, you were watching for anyone grabbing in their pockets or anything.”

One or two deputies remained at district buildings throughout the school day, Glismann said, but no incidents occurred.

FIRST REPORT

Deputies were at Graham Local Schools this morning after the district received an unsubstantiated threat.

Superintendent Norm Glismann said he was alerted Sunday of a threat made on Facebook against Graham High School for Monday.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office worked with the school and deemed the threat was not credible, Glismann said, but decided to have additional law enforcement at all Graham Schools Monday.

Parents were not alerted of the situation ahead of time as to not induce panic, he added.

Dozens of parents could be seen picking up student from the high school Monday morning.

The district said they planned to alert parents to the situation sometime Monday late morning or early afternoon, Glismann said.

Although the threat was unsubstantiated, Glismann said, in days after the Columbine shooting all threats must be looked into because the safety of students and staff is the district’s first priority.

The district said in a statement that personnel will continue being vigilant and observant as the educational process takes place.