Northwestern superintendent addresses school threat, says it was a rumor

Northwestern Local School’s superintendent explained in a video why high school and junior high parents on Tuesday got an automated call that there had been a report that a student had a weapon.

“I just want to let everybody know that there was no threat today at school, nobody brought a weapon, nobody made a threat and everybody is safe,” Superintendent Jesse Steiner said in a video posted on the district’s Facebook page.

A student sent a text message to their parent saying they felt they were in danger at school, so the parent called 911. This phone call then led to a “very quick and effective response” from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and German Twp. Police Department, in which resulted in 30 to 40 cruisers being out from the the high school.

“They came in force because they believed that there was a threat at the school. The reality is that there was no threats, no student made a threat, no student had a weapon,” Steiner said.

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The message said a student was threatening to shoot the school, according to the police report. Once officers arrived, they checked the student in question, his bookbag and his locker, but found everything to be okay and no weapon was found, according to a report from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

During the investigation, officers talked with a few students who said they heard the student had a gun, was going to shoot up the school, and was going to bring a pipe bomb or some form of weapon to the school and use it. None of the students said they heard the threats directly from the student in question, the report said.

When officers talked to the student in question, he was “adamant” about never making any type of threat related to that and never thought of doing that. He also said he has been working hard to get better after having been in trouble at school previously, and Steiner backed up that statement to deputies.

Officers determined no threat was made and no weapons were found. “No charges of any type would be made in this incident and the case was closed,” the report said, “but whatever the school chooses to do from an internal discipline matter is up to them to handle.”

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Some Northwestern parents have complained on Facebook about alleged threats made by a student this month. In his video to parents, Steiner addressed what he said was an alleged rumor going around about one student who is threatening the school.

“It is a rumor and it’s not a true rumor but it continues to go around and it was spread today and that is what prompted the text message from the student to their parent,” he said.

In the video, Steiner said the bad thing was that there were “students spreading rumors about another student that were untrue,” and the good was a parent called 911 when they believed there was danger, a student who felt in danger told someone, and that law enforcement agencies responded quickly.

Steiner said one of the things they need to work on as a community is to make sure they have accurate information so the district is not using resources out of the county to come to the school when no one made a threat.

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