Pickerington Local School District officials this week initiated expulsion proceedings for five students believed to have made threats against local schools, as well as one student accused of vandalism.

Pickerington Local School District officials this week initiated expulsion proceedings for five students believed to have made threats against local schools, as well as one student accused of vandalism.

Prior to Tuesday night's community meeting to discuss recent threats made against Pickerington schools and students, school officials believed they had identified a number of the culprits.

"I know there are several people and there's likely to be charges against them," Pickerington Police Det. Rob Bartek said. "There's going to be a lot of charges that are going to be coming forward."

Lee Cole, the PLSD's communications director, declined to identify the students by name or grade, but said two are students at Ridgeview Junior High and the others attend PHS Central. She said they could be expelled for allegedly making bomb threats against the two schools and against students.

"They're all minors, so we can't name them," Cole said. "Our principals are meeting with their parents for expulsion hearings.

"They've all been removed from school. Right now, three of these students have been expelled, and of the four (bomb) threats, three have been resolved," she said. "We have one other, but I think that will be resolved soon."

The news came less than a week after bomb threats were made against Central on Feb. 18, 19 and 20, and a note was found in the school stating that three students would be killed. The incidents led to lockdowns and evacuations at the school, and the four students were removed as a safety precaution on Feb. 19.

After receiving threats via the district's "Safe School Hotline," district officials patted down students as they entered Central on Feb. 20.

The district also increased staff supervision of hallways in the wake of the threats. Additionally, staff members increased their presence in school restrooms, and student hall pass usage was "carefully documented and limited," Cole said.

On Feb. 23, Pickerington police arrested Christopher Hoar, 18, of Pickerington, for allegedly setting fire to two school transportation vehicles at Central, and for allegedly damaging three outbuildings and marking the exterior of the school with graffiti.

Hoar was slated for arraignment Feb. 24 on eight felony charges. Bartek said a 17-year-old Central student, who now is facing expulsion, also could be charged in that incident.

He said police don't believe the vandalism was related to the threats made against the schools or students, but expected criminal charges to be levied against those who made threats.

"Basically, all these other situations are unrelated to each other. It was just really bad timing," he said.

Cole said the suspects at Ridgeview were identified after school officials began questioning students who received notice of a bomb threat at the school through text messages.

The suspects in the incidents at Central were identified, she said, after police analyzed evidence related to the threats and after information from fellow students was considered. Those currently facing expulsion include a student believed to have made the death threats against fellow students via a note.

"Students seem to be getting fed up with how they are being treated as a whole, and they started to share things that have been overheard from students talking about the incidents," Cole said.