‘We do everything we can;’ Area superintendent hopes to ease worries of community after email threat

Many students did not go to school Monday after districts across Ohio received a bomb threat.

Oakwood, Clayton, Sidney, Greenville, Vandalia, and Mad River schools all sent messages to parents about the threat.

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The threats did not cause any school closures, but they did create a lot of concern.

Chad Wyen, superintendent of Mad River Local Schools in Riverside, had three principals in his district receive the threatening emails.

They immediately began working with local and state and federal law enforcement, like the FBI.

“We did find that this was not a credible threat, it looked like they spoofed a list of email addresses and sent out a general message,” Wyen said.

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Wyen said his next step was putting together a message for parents and the school community. He said that is more challenging than it’s ever been.

“Our families need to trust the school district communicating the information out versus what they may see on social media,” he said.

Laura Kuzminski has a grandson in the first grade, he went to his Toledo area school. She says she is pleased with her daughter’s decision.

“But my daughter is a millennial and she lived through 9/11 and they are not going to tell us, so yeah, you’re going to school,” Kuzminski said.

Law enforcement sources told News Center 7 at least 70 schools in Montgomery County alone received the threats.

In addition to Mad River, Vandalia-Butler City Schools communicated with parents twice about the situation.

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Oakwood Schools also let their community know what took place and what they were doing.

“I think people are fortunately fearful of these things and I want to make sure our families in our community know our schools are safe, we do everything we can to protect our kids every single day,” Wyen said.

A lot of superintendents began receiving calls from their schools’ principals by Sunday afternoon. By 4 p.m. Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck was getting a lot of calls from superintendents, and making calls of his own.

“Luckily we are partners with and have people assigned to the FBI and Homeland Security,” Streck said.

Streck said tapping that knowledge base helps move an investigation like this much quicker.

“A month ago, California schools received this same email, last week it was Texas and now this week it is Ohio,” Streck said.

Streck said by late Sunday, all his information indicated the suggestion that bombs had been placed in dozens of local schools was not a credible threat.

They still took it seriously in their talks with school districts across the county, helping them with communication with their parents and releasing their own information to county residents.

“If you do not tell them everything you know, at least as much as you can tell them, they are going to make their own narrative,” Streck said.

Streck said his deputies were at a number of schools in the county throughout the day, mostly in the three townships the department patrols.

He also said these types of incidents are not likely to stop, and having federal partnerships allows them access to information to make the best decisions possible.

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