The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 27, 2013

Bathroom scribbling causes early dismissal at Lakeside High School

Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office is investigating threat

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The superintendent of Ashtabula area city schools did not take a threat scrawled on a stall door in a Lakeside High School bathroom lightly.

When the message was discovered Friday morning, students were told to remain in their classroom, school officials called parents and the students were sent home, effective immediately.

“I’m taking every precaution,” Superintendent Patrick Colucci said. “I’m not taking this threat lightly. I want everybody to be safe.”

The Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the threat. Deputies checked students’ backpacks as they exited the school and a barking K-9 officer beefed up police presence and surveillance.

Troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol directed traffic at Sanborn Road and Route 84 and kept an eye on the crowd of students leaving the school with their parents.

Police and school officials are not releasing the specific threat while the matter is under investigation. Colucci did say, however, that footage from cameras just outside the bathroom is being reviewed.

“This is unbelievable,” LHS parent, Chrissy Bish, said. “Somebody in this school is scaring other children just for fun.”

As she waited in her car for her daughter, Carol Hamilton, said she understood Colucci’s decision to send everyone home despite the inconvenience.

Freshman Nikki Santana hugged her father when she came out of the building. “We didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “We were told something was under investigation and to stay in our classrooms.”

Parent Kathy Collins said this incident makes her very nervous.

“After the Boston bombers ... it’s terrible,” she said.

Mark Awroski sat on the hood of his vehicle, enjoying the sunshine and watching the excitement as he waited for his siblings to be released from school.

“Hopefully, everybody is safe,” Awroski said. “That’s what matters. I heard there was some kind of threat going on in there.”

Junior Brittany Ferrari hugged her mother, Kim, after exiting from the school.

“It’s just good to be out,” Ferrari said as she waited for her brother, Michael, to join them.

As they walked out of LHS around noon, ninth-graders Alexis Riker and Sadie Throckmorton said they heard it was a bomb threat but they didn’t know for sure. They weren’t too concerned, they said. They were glad to get out of school on a sunny, spring day.