MT. HEALTHY, Ohio (FOX19) - A Mt. Healthy High School student is under arrest and accused of threatening to shoot up the school, police said.
But did school officials delay reporting the threat to police for more than an hour?
They are investigating while school officials say they have updated their procedures.
Officers from Mt. Healthy, Springfield Township and North College Hill responded to the school on Hamilton Avenue just before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
They received a report of a student threatening to shoot-up the school at dismissal, Police Chief Vince Demasi wrote on Facebook Wednesday morning.
Several schools in the area were immediately notified and asked to go on lockdown as a precaution.
“Police determined a 16 year old male student was overheard making the threat to shoot-up the school,” his post reads. “The incident was reported to a school administrator at approximately 1:30 pm. The school then began an investigation without immediately notifying police. Attempts to locate the involved student at school were unsuccessful.”
Shortly before dismissal, about an hour later, police were notified and responded, Demasi said.
Officers found the student at his home, where he was arrested and charged with aggravated menacing.
He was taken to the Hamilton County Juvenile Center for processing.
“Our investigation indicates the situation started as a verbal dispute between the arrested, and another student,” the chief wrote.
“The investigation into the delay of reporting the incident to police is on-going. At this time, we have no evidence or reason to believe students would be endangered by attending school. The actions of officers responding were rooted in a precautionary tactic to ensure the safety of students, staff, and officers conducting the investigation.
“My hope is that parents will use this occasion to speak with their children, reinforcing the message to never make threats of this nature during school hours. These types of incidents will be investigated fully, and criminal charges will be brought against those responsible regardless of age. I would also like to extend my thanks to those police agencies who responded to assist.”
A Mt. Healthy City Schools spokeswoman, Missy Knight, released a statement from the district about the threat and when they reported it:
“On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, Mt. Healthy Jr/Sr High School received a credible threat at dismissal. We notified Mt. Healthy Police Department as soon as we had identification of the student and the statement of the threat," the statement reads.
"Upon their arrival Mt. Healthy Police Department asked that any students still on campus go into lock down as a precautionary measure. The Springfield Township and North College Hill Police Departments also responded. We take all threats to the safety of our students and staff seriously.
"Mt. Healthy Police Department also placed Mt. Healthy South Elementary on a lock down, which is policy when there is a threat in the area. School administrators followed procedures as stated in the district’s Emergency Management Plan. Once administrators were informed by the Springfield Township police that the student had been found at home, the students who were still in the building were dismissed, and South Elementary School was dismissed.
"Administrators notified parents of both Jr/Sr High School and South Elementary of the incident via OneCallNow notification system with calls, emails, and text messages. Student and staff safety is our utmost priority in Mt. Healthy City School District. We have updated our procedures to assure that we offer our parents and stakeholders the most current information through several forms of communication.”
Superintendent Dr. Reva Cosby also released a statement about Wednesday’s events through video: