VANDALIA — As various schools across the area have suffered multiple bomb threats in recent weeks, Vandalia-Butler City Schools Superintendent has been proactive in reaching out to parents, students, and local law enforcement.
While no schools in Vandalia-Butler have been the subject of the threats, Neavin says its important to discuss the issue with the community. Neavin made a phone call to parents last week that included the threats as a topic.
“While none of these recent threats have happened in our school district, I want to make sure you know about them,” Neavin said in the call. “None of these threats have been determined to be real, but they have scared students, staff, and parents and caused disruption to school schedules.”
Neavin discussed the matter in more detail during an interview last week on a wide variety of topics.
“There is no rhyme or reason to these calls, and there’s no reason to believe we won’t get one,” he said.
He said that officials in Columbus are saying that the calls are made over the internet which makes them difficult to trace.
“The calls are being made all over the state, but there seems to be a high concentration in this area right now,” said Neavin.
Meadowdale High School in Dayton received a bomb threat on Monday, its second in recent weeks. Schools have also been affected in Beavercreek and other areas in Southwest Ohio.
Neavin said the threats are different in nature than what is usually the cause of a threat – a disgruntled, lonely, or emotionally disturbed student. Usually, threats have been made by junior high or high school students.
“I don’t believe this is a kid, or kids in the school,” he said. “What is shocking to us is that the threats are clustered, the frequency in which they are occurring, and they are targeting elementary schools. If you want to do a prank or threat that impacts a community, the elementary schools impact 100 percent of families because you just can’t send the little guys home. They have to have supervision.”
Neavin said that school officials have met with Vandalia and Butler Township Police, Fire, and EMS personnel to review the district’s emergency evacuation plans – and not necessarily going from school to school. While the district does have off-site evacuation plans, they are not being publicized for security reasons.
“We are not going to publicize those locations, we are not going to talk to parents about it, because if there is something to the threats we don’t want to evacuate to a secondary site and have a problem there,” said Neavin. “What we will tell parents is that we have sites in place, we will transport students to those sites, and when we are ready to have parents pick the students up we will do a One Call to tell them where they are going to be.”
Neavin also had a stern warning for any students complentating making a threat.
“Students who make these threats are usually caught and wind up in trouble…big trouble,” Neavin said in his call last week. “When students are found guilty of these incidents, they are typically arrested by the police, expelled from school for a long period of time, and face consequences that may impact them for the rest of their lives. I don’t want to see any of our students hurt and I also don’t want to see any of you get into the kind of trouble that comes with making these types of threats.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.