THREE STUDENTS, two at Union Local and the other at Martins Ferry, have confessed to bomb threats which resulted in school evacuations and other problems in their respective school districts.
In the Union Local School district, a student is facing serious penalties after making multiple bomb threats that caused at least two of three recent district-wide evacuations.
Superintendent Kirk Glasgow confirmed that Monday evening that one student confessed to bomb threats at the middle school and high school. Credit goes to the sheriff's office for conducting the investigation.
The district is deciding on possible penalties and financial sanctions.
Meanwhile, two additional bomb threats were reported Tuesday at the elementary school. An elementary pupil confessed to one of the threats and the building had to be evacuated.
Assemblies had been held Tuesday morning to review the legal and financial repercussions of such behavior, along with the inconvenience to the students themselves, who may be required to make up lost school hours and whose extracurricular activities had been canceled.
The board had held a special meeting the night prior to discuss issues including increased security measures.
One day after a late-day bomb threat caused an evacuation of the Martins Ferry School District, buildings authorities have obtained a confession from a student.
Police Chief John McFarland reported that officers conducted a thorough investigation and interviews.
"I credit Sgt. (Chip) Ghent for aggressively going there and getting to the base of the problem," he said, adding that the school district and fire department were cooperative in the investigative process.
"When we got the call yesterday, the police and fire department did a search of the middle school and high school," he said, noting that valuable time was spent when a real emergency could have occurred elsewhere. "We took it as seriously as we possibly could."
Superintendent Dirk Fitch thanked the police and fire departments for their work and added that the agencies have also been available and cooperative. He noted that Monday's evacuation resulted in a girls' basketball game being canceled. The student has been suspended and the principal may recommend expulsion.
"Safety is always our main concern with our students," he said. "We take threats very, very seriously, and we will not tolerate that kind of behavior."
DeFrank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.