XENIA — One day short of the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, N. J., and on the day when one student was seriously wounded in a school shooting in Colorado, the doors of Xenia High School were closed, students being searched as they entered the building in single file Friday morning. The cause of the heightened security at the school was a written threat found on a bathroom wall at the high school Thursday night.
And, although the connection is mere coincidence, and no threat like that devastating event a year ago has been reported, it is a reminder to school personnel and parents. In fact, a teenager at Arapaho High School in Colorado fired a shotgun and wounded a teenage female student. That male assailant, identified as Karl Pierson, reportedly had a “confrontation or disagreement” with a teacher at the school. The 17-year-old girl is fighting for her life after surviving surgery. She was shot in the head by Pierson who then shot and killed himself.
Arapaho High School is only miles away from the scene of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher and injured 24 others before that pair took their own lives.
Fortunately for Xenia High School, the threats did not come to anything other than just that — words written on the bathroom wall.
The student responsible “has been held accountable and did admit to writing the threat as a prank,” XHS principal Ted Holop said.
“The threat was not specific to any individual or group, and had no specific time frame,” Holop said. “Safety of students and staff is our most critical responsibility, and it will be at the core of our decision making dealing with this threat.”
Holop stated that as of Friday morning, there was no evidence to suggest the credibility of the threat, but the procedures were put in place to make sure the high school was safe and secure.
“I appreciate how the students and staff of Xenia High School stayed focused on learning Friday and how the community allowed the administration and police to work through the investigation,” Holop said. “It is important to reiterate that the safety of students and staff is our most vital responsibility and the partnership Xenia Community Schools has with the Xenia Police Department is strong and reliable.”
The high school opened at the normal time Friday with police on location at 6:45 a.m. Students’ entry was limited to two locations and all bags or backpacks were searched by school personnel.
The administration also announced that hall passes would be limited for Friday and any access to the school after 7:45 a.m. was to be through the front entrance only. A staff member was posted there to greet visitors entering the building.
“The XHS administration will continue to focuson keeping students and staff safe from all potentially dangerous situations and the expectation for Monday (Dec. 16) is students will be in class on time and learning,” Holop added an update.
On Thursday, the Cedar Cliff School District conducted its annual , state-required lock-down drill.
“Your children were great, the faculty was professional, and it was conducted efficiently and without incident,” Cedar Cliff superintendent Chad Mason said in a message to parents in the district. “Feel free to discuss with your child the importance of following directions and staying calm in any situation that is unlike the normal day-to-day operations of the school.”
Contact William Duffield at email@example.com or 372-4444 ext. 133.