Threat rumors prompt early school dismissal


PHS students leave at noon on Thursday

By Sam Wildow - and Belinda M. Paschal



Mike Ullery | Daily Call Students leave Piqua Hgh School around noon on Thursday as parents wait to pick them up following rumors about possible threats that prompted school officials to issue a lockdown at the school and an early dismissal.


Mike Ullery | Daily Call Chief Bruce Jamison and Deputy Chief Marty Grove of the Piqua Police Department talk with Piqua City Schools Superintendent Dwayne Thompson on Thursday, when school was dismissed early due to rumors circulating about possible threats to students.


Mike Ullery | Daily Call School officials control access at the entrance to Piqua High School on Thursday as parents arrive to pick up students following rumors of threats that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at the high school.


Mike Ullery | Daily Call Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison interviews a pair of students in the Piqua High School office on Thursday in search of clues as to who is responsible for a social media threat that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at Piqua High School on Thursday.


Mike Ullery | Daily Call Students leave Piqua High School on Thursday following a social media threat that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at the high school.


PIQUA — Due to safety concerns, Piqua High School was placed under lockdown on Thursday and students were dismissed at approximately 11:50 a.m. due to multiple rumors about possible threats to students.

“Rumors circulating concerning Snapchat posts yesterday have resulted in multiple rumors of threats from multiple sources that need to be assessed,” Chief of Police Bruce Jamison of the Piqua Police Department said. “In the interest of students’ safety during these assessments, they are being dismissed early.”

One rumor circulating was that a student brought a gun to school, which Jamison said was not true. “There’s nobody here with a gun,” Jamison said.

Piqua City Schools Superintendent Dwayne Thompson reiterated that this rumor was unfounded and that the early dismissal was “precautionary.”

There are a number of other rumors that police and school administration will be sorting through. In addition to Jamison, Deputy Chief Marty Grove and additional officers were present inside and outside the building throughout the situation.

Dwayne Thompson also alluded to the Snapchat messages, which he said were sent anonymously to specific students and while not outright threatening, the messages were of a harassing nature.

Paraphrasing the messages, Thompson said, “They were along the lines of, ‘I know something about you and therefore, I’m going to reveal it. That, of course, upset some kids and they reported it.”

Thompson said the Snapchats snowballed into rumors of threats, leading to a message on a bathroom wall indicating there would be a physical threat. “Rather than play with the rumors, which were getting out of hand, we thought it was best to dismiss the students early,” he said.

Thompson noted that an Instant Connect Message was sent to PHS parents within 15 minutes of discovering the bathroom message in an attempt to squelch the rumors and avoid panic, as well as allow administrators and police time to devote closer attention to the situation.

Regarding the bathroom wall message, Thompson said police will be reviewing camera evidence (outside the bathroom), as well as speaking to anyone who might have information. He encouraged those who might have any helpful information or know someone who does to contact the Piqua police.

In addition to Thompson, several school board members and school staff were on hand to assist with the situation. Students who rode buses were accompanied to their buses under staff supervision, and those who drove or received rides to school were escorted from the building individually by staff.

All evening practices at PHS also were cancelled, according to Thompson. The high school will not be in session today; all other schools will operate on a normal schedule.

School administrators and police will continue to assess and investigate the incident.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Students leave Piqua Hgh School around noon on Thursday as parents wait to pick them up following rumors about possible threats that prompted school officials to issue a lockdown at the school and an early dismissal.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/11/web1_113017mju_ppd_phs_threat1-3.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call Students leave Piqua Hgh School around noon on Thursday as parents wait to pick them up following rumors about possible threats that prompted school officials to issue a lockdown at the school and an early dismissal.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Chief Bruce Jamison and Deputy Chief Marty Grove of the Piqua Police Department talk with Piqua City Schools Superintendent Dwayne Thompson on Thursday, when school was dismissed early due to rumors circulating about possible threats to students.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/11/web1_IMG_2640-1.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call Chief Bruce Jamison and Deputy Chief Marty Grove of the Piqua Police Department talk with Piqua City Schools Superintendent Dwayne Thompson on Thursday, when school was dismissed early due to rumors circulating about possible threats to students.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call School officials control access at the entrance to Piqua High School on Thursday as parents arrive to pick up students following rumors of threats that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at the high school.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/11/web1_113017mju_ppd_phs_threat3-3.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call School officials control access at the entrance to Piqua High School on Thursday as parents arrive to pick up students following rumors of threats that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at the high school.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison interviews a pair of students in the Piqua High School office on Thursday in search of clues as to who is responsible for a social media threat that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at Piqua High School on Thursday.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/11/web1_113017mju_ppd_phs_threat4-3.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison interviews a pair of students in the Piqua High School office on Thursday in search of clues as to who is responsible for a social media threat that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at Piqua High School on Thursday.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Students leave Piqua High School on Thursday following a social media threat that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at the high school.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/11/web1_113017mju_ppd_phs_threat5-3.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call Students leave Piqua High School on Thursday following a social media threat that prompted a lockdown and early dismissal at the high school.
PHS students leave at noon on Thursday

By Sam Wildow

and Belinda M. Paschal

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com. Mike Ullery contributed to this story; he can be reached at mullery@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com. Mike Ullery contributed to this story; he can be reached at mullery@aimmediamidwest.com