Crestwood High School, already on a "soft lockdown" with increased police presence in response to rumors Friday, found itself under evacuation that day after a bomb threat was scrawled on a restroom wall.
District Superintendent Joe Iacano said the threat, found at about 9:30 a.m., warned that something was going to explode.
Portage County Sheriff David Doak said a message was written on a wall in a boys' restroom "in the form of a bomb threat." He would not elaborate on what the message said, saying only that the incident remains under investigation.
Students were evacuated by bus to the district's elementary schools, with 9th and 10th graders sent to the Primary School gymnasium, and older students sent to the Intermediate School gym. Teachers and staff from the high school supervised the students, and the other buildings in the district were on a "soft lockdown" as a precaution.
The Portage County Sheriff's Office searched the school and found nothing, Iacano said.
Parents of high school students received a call stating that they could pick their children up from the elementary buildings, and most did so by 12:30 p.m., Iacano said. About 100 remaining students were bused back to the high school by about 1:15 p.m. to continue the day.
Once the situation was resolved, parents of other students in the district were notified by phone, Iacano said.
"The whole thing was precautionary," he said. "You can't be too careful with these things."
Friday was the district's last day of classes before the winter break begins.
Iacano said the school already had planned increased police presence that day in response to rumors that turned out to be unfounded, including some based on the "Mayan Apocalypse" rumored for Friday, and parents received a call about that earlier in the week.
"We understand this is very frustrating for parents, students and teachers," he said. "Our district, like many schools, was already responding to rumors, and to have something like that happen is very frustrating.
He noted that the threat is still under investigation by the sheriff's office, and anyone with information about who might have started the threat should either call police or the Board of Education, which will be accepting messages on voice mail over the holiday break.
"This was definitely very disruptive," he said. "We intend to hold someone accountable."
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