For the second time in a month, a bomb threat posted on social media against the Miami Trace Local School District prompted officials to close the campus Monday.
According to authorities, the threat made on Instagram was very similar to the threat made on Instagram Sept. 19, which also caused the cancellation of classes. On Monday and on Sept. 19, K-9 bomb-sniffing dogs were utilized from various agencies to do a search of all buildings on campus. Just as it was on Sept. 19, the campus was deemed safe following the search, according to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth.
“We believe that the two threats made are connected,” said Stanforth when asked about the ongoing investigation. ”Right now, we believe it’s probably a student and we’re in the process of identifying those people who were tagged on the Instagram account. Right now, we’re looking at the middle school as a possibility, but that’s not definitive.”
The threat on Instagram was brought to the attention of school officials and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office shortly after 6 a.m.
“We already had some students on buses that were en-route to the schools,” said Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis. “Once we confirmed that there was a threat made, we had the bus drivers take them back to their homes and we used the call system to notify the parents.”
The search of the campus took approximately two hours to complete after authorities arrived at around 9:30 a.m.
“We’ve secured every building, it’s locked down and safe,” said Stanforth. “Parents should know that they are sending their kids into a safe environment.”
Lewis said Monday evening that district officials worked with local law enforcement agencies to determine that everyone can safely return to school on Tuesday.
“Recognizing the importance of our students’ education, the district has decided that moving forward, any school day lost due to a threat of violence will be made up throughout the remainder of the school year,” Lewis said. “District officials plan to meet with all students upon their return (Tuesday) to discuss this incident, effective communication and proper protocol.”
Stanforth also urged Miami Trace students to come forward with any information they may have.
“It’s important that the students realize this is a very serious thing,” Stanforth said. “It’s going to start impacting them as a school and they’re going to have to start making up these days. This is not a ‘calamity day’ by our definition. Chances are, a student or students at the school have some information about this. They should contact school officials, law enforcement or let their parents know. If they do know something, they aren’t in trouble because they let us know. But if they don’t tell and we find out later they were aware of it and didn’t divulge, it could put them in a compromising situation.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica