Statement Regarding HS Lockdown (3/1/23)
UPDATED 3:04 PM 3/1/23
TO: JEFFERSON AREA LOCAL SCHOOLS CONSTITUENTS
Updated Information About the False Threat Made About Jefferson High School
FR: John Montanaro, Superintendent
The following is an update to our first communications sent out as events were unfolding at the high school this morning. There have been changes made based on a continued review of the events this morning.
Summary of changes to information sent out earlier:
1. The false threat was called into the Emergency Services (not the high school as originally reported)
2. The high school administration’s first notice that a threat had been made was when Emergency Personnel began to arrive at the school.
3. Our lockdown and subsequent actions began upon their arrival.
This morning (3/1/23) a false threat was called into the Emergency Services (not the high school as originally reported) that stated there was an active shooter at Jefferson High School. This call came from an area code outside of our community. The caller cited an active shooter in room 37 (a room that does not exist in our building). This triggered an emergency response by our area Law Enforcement and Safety Forces who were dispatched to the high school.
We have continued to work to establish a timeline of events. Internally, we are reviewing our response and lock down procedures. The call that triggered the emergency response to the high school was false. The call did not, as originally thought, come to the high school. Rather, it was made directly to emergency services.
Our first notice that there had been a threat was when emergency personnel arrived at the school.
As Emergency services continued to arrive at the high school the building was placed in lockdown.
Responders and school officials met informally on site to review the triggering event and develop accurate information. Arriving safety personnel had entered the building and searched areas.
As information became clearer that this was a false threat, we as a district began to send communications including a series of staff emails, a robocall, parent email via final forms, and a community email the purpose of which was to provide the information we had at the time and, to most importantly, assure everyone that the building was safe and to stop rumors or panic.
I want to be clear, this false call was an example of a cruel and illegal act to set off panic. We will prosecute the perpetrator if she/he is caught. At this time, there is no indication that the call to Emergency Services came from a Jefferson Student.
Again, I do want to acknowledge our gratitude to our building administration for their quick action (in what was a confusing situation) in activating our lock down.
I also want to thank and praise our local law enforcement, and safety force response. The rapid deployment of multiple law enforcement organizations, including the Jefferson Police, Ashtabula Sheriff Department, the Jefferson Fire Department, and Jefferson Emergency Services was fast, thorough and an example of everyone working together to address quickly and professionally a potentially dangerous incident.