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Several Northeast Ohio schools impacted by threats this week

A student was arrested for making a threat to Berea-Midpark Middle School on Friday, making it at least three arrests in the area this week.

ELYRIA, Ohio — After a rash of similar social media threats across the area, a third student is facing charges, this time for threatening Berea-Midpark Middle School. The school closed Friday as a precaution. Middleburg Heights Police say the young student who made that threat was arrested and is being held at Cuyahoga County's Juvenile Detention Center.

It’s at least the third arrest we've seen this week. Lorain County deputies announced Monday they’d arrested a student for threats against Elyria's Westwood Middle School. Thursday, Mogadore Police arrested a 12-year-old who they say threatened the high school.

On Friday, Elyria High School was placed on lockdown after a student reported hearing someone make a threat on the building. Authorities eventually cleared the campus and released students without finding anything, but the worry for parents is very real.

"When I got the phone call, I was sitting and waiting for my daughter to come out of school, and it scared me," Naomi Bonness, the mother of an Elyria ninth grader, said. "I started tearing up, thinking, 'I'm sitting in my car; my daughter is in there. What could be happening?' That's a scary feeling."

"Ever since that first shooting years and years and years ago, it's just been nonstop," Jason Brown, the father of an Elyria senior, added

Will Ujek has more from Lorain County:

“Kids need to understand that once they press send, they can't put the threat back into the smartphone,” said Ken Trump, a national school safety expert based here in Cleveland. “There are a ton of consequences with suspension and expulsion from school and criminal prosecution that will likely follow for those who make a threat.” Trump says we are seeing an increase in school threats and violent behavior. He works with schools on security and emergency assessments, through his company, National School Safety and Security Services.

Stow-Munroe Falls High School also reported a ton of absences Friday after another threat circulated. “Rumors and misinformation that used to spread in hours and days spreads in seconds and minutes on social media,” said Trump.

He believes much of the uptick we're seeing stems from the unhealthy social and emotional conditions kids have faced during the pandemic and remote learning. “Now that they're back in school, that's manifesting itself in behaviors that includes fighting aggressive behavior threatening type of, of conflicts and school leaders need to make sure that they don't fall back on remote learning as a crutch when threats and violent behavior occurs,” he said.

He says it's on districts to assess, then react to threats with training and protocol already in place

“They want to treat the threats seriously, investigate them thoroughly. Make sure there, there are consequences involved, but nine out of 10 threats may turn out to be not credible. No school administrator wants to be number 10,” he stressed.

Parents are hopeful that these threats continue to be false alarms, but say it's important for schools to treat every one of them as valid.

"I just hope it doesn't come down to having to have metal detectors at every freaking door in order to even go to school," Brown lamented. "It's sad that it's coming to that, but they might have to."

"I'd rather have them be overprotected and do too much than not do enough," Bonness said.

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