CHAGRIN FALLS - Students returned to school on Friday after the campus of Chagrin Falls High School was evacuated due to a bomb threat Thursday afternoon.
According to police, a picture with a photo of a bomb, along with Thursday's date, was found on a bathroom wall in the High School. The entire campus of students grade 7-12 was evacuated as investigators searched and cleared the building of all threats.
Chagrin Falls school officials say a picture of a bomb threat came in, they contacted law enforcement and evacuated buildings. @wkyc— Amani Abraham (@AmaniAbraham) May 4, 2017
As the response to the threat continued, officers says someone who 'misperceived the police activity' called in a 911 report saying there was an active shooter on the campus. No evidence was found and the campus was declared 'all clear' of threats by 5:43 p.m.
Police say while they were investigating the initial bomb threat, but someone called in an active shooter with misinformation. @wkyc— Dorsena Drakeford (@dorsena_news) May 4, 2017
In addition to the misperception of an active shooter on campus, officials also dispelled the rumors and social media reports that a teacher had been involved in making the threat during a Thursday evening press conference.
No teachers were involved in the bomb threat, superintendent says those were rumors and social media contributed to that. @wkyc— Dorsena Drakeford (@dorsena_news) May 4, 2017
Chagrin Falls Police along with the Chagrin Falls Schools are continuing their investigation. School officials insist If a student was involved, they will be disciplined per the student code of conduct.
Superintendent Robert Hunt also sent a letter out to parents on Friday. Read the letter below:
May 5, 2017
Chagrin Falls Community:
We want to first thank all of our parents, students and staff for their support and understanding yesterday. Additionally, we want to recognize the Chagrin Falls Police Department and surrounding communities that responded. As with every incident of this nature, this morning we met with local safety forces to debrief to evaluate what has been done well and areas for improvement moving forward.
We want to share with you an overview of events of yesterday, but within the broader context of the week as we believe the actions yesterday stemmed from or were escalated by prior incidents. Early in the week, a rumor was started within the student body at the high school of a potential act of violence. We involved Chagrin Falls Police Department to assess the threat. On Wednesday, the rumor was perpetuated by a community member posting a comment relating to a school shooting on Facebook. This prompted the communication sent to parents. On Thursday morning, we asked for increased police presence on our 7-12 campus in response to this Facebook post and the pattern of comments that post created. It was done to instill confidence, and was not due to any concern regarding an act of violence. We would have cancelled school if that was the case.
Thursday afternoon at approximately 12:10 P.M. the high school administration was notified of vandalism in the boys restroom in the high school commons. This appeared to be a roughly sketched unknown object with the word “Bomb” below and 5/4/17 above. The high school administration, along with a representative from central office, met to evaluate this as an act of vandalism and / or a threat. This prompted an investigation to determine who wrote the drawing on the restroom stall. Around 2:30 P.M. another student spoke to the high school administration and reported that other students were referencing a bomb threat. Due to this level of concern, the police were contacted. At approximately 3:10 P.M. the police asked that the building be evacuated.
Students and staff were directed to evacuate the building. During this evacuation, a middle school student called 911 and reported an active shooter in the middle school. This prompted a regional alert of an active shooter and an appropriate response from law enforcement ensued. Student reunification was managed by district staff while the police first searched the building utilizing their active shooter protocol. This was completed approximately at 6:00 P.M. at which time the building was swept for the bomb concern. District personnel were permitted to reenter the building at approximately 7:15 P.M.
In a crisis situation, there is a balance between managing and communicating. We utilized our phone blast system, district Facebook, website and eblast system. Any resident can sign up to receive our e-communications. Go to our www.chagrinschools.org and at the upper right corner there is a button that says STAY CONNECTED. If you click that, you can enter your contact information.
Our initial debriefing this morning will lead to the following actions:
Thorough investigation in an attempt to determine the students involved.
Evaluation of external communication with parents and community during this crisis.
Evaluation of current phone blast system in terms of current functionality and additional functionality that may include student notification and texting.
Engage CFPD on initial evaluation of any posting that can be perceived as threatening.
Further professional development and practice with staff / police on Navigate Emergency Communication System.
Further debriefing with stakeholders involved in parent reunification and police department.
The evacuation portion of this event involved many of our students. If there are any concerns with students post event, we encourage parents to reach out to building guidance staff. Once again, we thank all who were involved in yesterday’s incident and we are appreciative of the support of not only the Chagrin Falls police, but also all surrounding law enforcement agencies that supported our schools.
Robert W. Hunt
Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools
Police left the scene Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
Per superintendent: Once the building is done being inspected, they'll determine if school will be held tomorrow. @wkyc— Dorsena Drakeford (@dorsena_news) May 4, 2017
The day's events began around 3:30 p.m, when District superintendent Robert Hunt sent parents a recorded message.
In the message, Hunt said the entire 7-12 campus at 400 East Washington Street was evacuated after the threat was received.
Students were moved to St. Joan of Arc Catholic school about 1,000 feet east of the campus.
At this time, the Chagrin Falls Police Department and the bomb squad began sweeping the entire campus. Euclid, Russell, Bainbridge, Chesterland, Moreland Hills, South Russell, Bentleyville, and the Geauga County Sheriff's Department all sent units to assist at the scene.
Chagrin Falls Mayor Bill Tomko said authorities went room-to-room throughout the building to make sure all students were out.
According to Tomko, the majority of students were out of school when the threat was made. No injuries were reported.
© 2017 WKYC-TV