(file photo)
(file photo)
Times Bulletin Staff Report

VAN WERT - With the country still on edge following the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Van Wert City School officials and the Van Wert City Police Department report they have reacted to threats at Van Wert High School in the past two days. After an investigation by law enforcement officials, however, it has been determined the threats were not credible.
Superintendent Ken Amstutz released a statement on Thursday evening stating that early in the morning on Wednesday, December 19, a text was received by the Van Wert Police threatening that a weapon was going to be brought to the MS/HS building. The police took the texter to the station for questioning where they admitted sending the message but that it was only meant to be a joke. This person is no longer in the school district and is not considered to be a threat.

However, on Thursday during lunch period, a series of texts between students at VWCS and Vantage Career Center said there was another threat of weapons being brought to school on Friday, December 21. Throughout the afternoon, school and law enforcement officials investigated the allegations and determined that the threats were not credible.

Amstutz also pointed out that despite rumors, the Middle School/High School complex was never in lockdown. Students in grades 3-5 were expected to take part in a program at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center but that was canceled due to the ongoing investigation. For safety purposes, the VWPD will have a physical presence in all city school buildings on Friday.

Amstutz asked that parents, students and community members let the school or police know immediately if they become aware of any threats.

"No matter how trivial the threat may seem, we need to know," he said in his statement. "Please rest assured that any information you give us will be investigated with appropriate action taken."

Van Wert is not alone in having to deal with safety issues. Paulding Exempted Village Schools took precautionary measures on Thursday due to what school officials called "unusual information brought to our attention." Students in St. Marys, Ohio saw school assemblies and concerts canceled Thursday and Friday due to rumored threats.