GROVE CITY – Grove City Area School District officials and local law enforcement have found no proof of a potential threat against the high school.
“There’s no evidence that it occurred,” Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch said Friday of the alleged threat.
High school staff reported to Finch around lunchtime Thursday that some students had been discussing a threat made by another student.
The high school’s safety team, which includes administrators, counselors and the school police officers, immediately came together and interviewed dozens of students who claimed to have come across information about the threat.
It’s not clear how word of this threat first started; no one was able to show a social media post displaying the initial threat, and no one was able to confirm that the threat was communicated to them directly from the student in question, Finch said.
“Nobody’s saying ‘they said it to me,’” he said.
Some students were worried about getting a classmate in trouble, or they feared an act of violence.
“It’s OK to say that something concerns you,” Finch said.
Mercer state police and Grove City borough police continue to assist the safety team. There was one name that came up multiple times during the interviews, and state police visited that student’s home to investigate the alleged threat.
Nothing was found during the welfare check that led police to believe the student made a threat toward the school, Finch said, noting that no classes or activities were canceled.
Police found no cause to take legal action against the student, who is under 18.
Finch stresses that it’s important to have “absolute facts” when this kind of incident comes up. He appreciated the cooperation from the students who were interviewed.
Even though this alleged threat appears to have started as a rumor, he wants to ensure students and their families that the district is taking it very seriously.
Administrators made an announcement to high school students Thursday afternoon to reassure them that the incident was under control, and that their parents and guardians would receive a similar message.
The district sent out automated phone and text messages and emails Thursday night via Blackboard Connect to let families know that classes would be able to continue following the initial investigation, Finch said.
A statement was also posted Thursday afternoon on the district’s website to explain the situation. Make sure to sign up for Blackboard Connect if you haven’t already done so, he said.
Police and school officials are still looking into the incident, and police officers are present in and around the school buildings.
As an educator, Finch is concerned about fear and emotions that these kinds of incidents can generate, especially among students who may have trouble processing the information.
It’s a great opportunity for a lesson in being careful with making claims based on hearsay, he said.
Anyone who knows of a threat is encouraged to report it to school staff, or the district’s Police Officer in Charge by calling 724-458-5456, extension 2129.
“We want to make sure that we reinforce our commitment to that safety,” Finch said.