WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Police are investigating a Facebook threat, trying to determine if it was directed at Warren Harding High School in the Valley or if it was an old threat directed at another school.
Classes at the school were canceled Tuesday as police investigated the threat saying someone was going to “shoot up” Harding during the second lunch period.
Superintendent Steve Chiaro said he received multiple calls from parents, students, and staff about the post. He learned of the threat on Monday night around 9 p.m. and an alert was sent out to parents about 10:15 p.m.
“We wanted to notify our parents and we wanted to give them time to prepare their students to not be in session,” Chiaro said. “In the past, we have had situations come up and we have had those resolved before students come to school in the morning. At this time, we don’t know that we could have completed this before our staff and students arrive. Given the timely nature, we felt it was best we further investigate and try to get resolution.”
Investigators are now trying to figure out if the school in Warren was the target, or if it was a school with the same name somewhere else.
“One of the areas that we’re trying to determine is if this was a local threat or if this is simply a post from another town, at another time that has gotten picked up because of the word ‘Harding,'” Chiaro said. “It seems that the word ‘Harding’ is the only local connection in the post and helping determine that through the police investigation will help us better understand the situation.”
If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be the first time for the Warren City School District. Just a few months ago, the schools found themselves looking into an old post from somewhere else.
“That was a threat to another school with the same name as ours down in Florida and in that instance, it was an old threat that was reposted or made its way, geographically, up here,” Chiaro said.
Still, school officials weren’t taking any chances. He said he wanted to allow police ample time to investigate, so he canceled classes for the day. Tuesday night’s basketball games were also postponed.
“Any type of threat against our schools, against our children, we have to take so seriously,” Chiaro said.
Warren City Law Director Greg Hicks said if the threat was directed at Harding in Warren, they intend to pursue charges.
“There’s no other way we can handle these but to say that anyone who is found to either make these threats, repeat these threats, even if it’s all in jest, will be punished.”
He went on to say he thinks it’s unfair to students to interrupt their studies like this.
Classes are expected to resume Wednesday morning.
This story has been corrected to show the threat was made Monday night, not Tuesday.