HANOVERTON, Ohio (WYTV) – Investigators believe threatening calls that forced a Columbiana Co. school district to evacuate Wednesday came from Florida, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating the incident.
United Local School District evacuated its school building Wednesday after receiving two bomb threats, according to school officials.
Authorities also told WKBN that the calls may have been the result of an online dispute between a former student and that person who placed the calls.
According to United Local Schools Superintendent Steve Viscounte, someone left a voice message on the high school secretary’s phone Tuesday night. The secretary received the message Wednesday morning, when students were already on the school’s campus, some in buses outside and some inside the building.
School officials gathered students that were already in the building into the auditorium after officers from the Columbiana Co. Sheriff’s Office and the Wynona and Hanoverton Fire Departments checked it for safety, according to Viscounte. Students who were inside their buses outside were kept waiting there.
Officers then swept the entire building, determined it was clear and brought the other kids into the school.
Later in the morning, the school nurse took a phone call with a very similar threat, according to Viscounte. School officials then called in the Ohio State Highway Patrol as well as the three departments which checked the school in the morning.
Viscounte said that peace officers are bringing in 5 bomb sniffing dogs from Kent and that the school is in contact with a phone company to trace the call.
According to a school official, all students, from elementary to high school, were taken out of the school to safe locations outside the school. Viscounte said the students are in the process of being picked up.
United Local School District has one school building, which includes about 1,250 students from elementary school to high school.