Westerville News & Public Opinion

Threat prompts school evacuation


Westerville South High School students first were placed on lockdown and then evacuated to the school's football stadium after a bomb threat was found written on a bathroom wall early Tuesday, Oct. 29.

The threat was determined by police to be a hoax, Principal Steve Andersson said in a letter to South parents posted on the school's website.

An unknown person wrote the word "bomb" with the date, 10-29-13, beside it on the wall, said Westerville Police Lt. Tracey Myers.

"Out of an abundance of caution, trying to make sure that the schools are a safe learning environment for all kids and working with the school's administration, it was decided that they would do a lockdown," Myers said.

While the students remained in their classrooms, police searched the school's common areas and the stadium. Once those areas were cleared, students were evacuated along already searched routes to the stadium.

They remained there while all other areas were searched and were returned to their classes shortly after noon.

Students were never subject to any direct threat, Myers said, although police continue to search for the person who penned the threat.

"We'll investigate, do what we can to figure out who it was and we will prosecute them with whatever we find out," he said.

Bomb threats have not been particularly common in recent years in Westerville schools, Myers said. He said the district typically receives maybe one a year.

Nevertheless, South's school resource officer worked quickly with staff to ensure students' safety, Myers said.

"I can't remember the last one we actually did an evacuation on (a bomb threat)," Myers said. "The school's going to do everything they can to maintain the safety of the child.

"They take that super seriously."