Westerville News & Public Opinion

Police sweep Blendon following bomb threat

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Westerville police searched Blendon Middle School overnight Nov. 5 after graffiti referring to a bomb threat was found in a girls' bathroom.

The graffiti, which was scratched out and not fully legible, was found by a custodian after students had left for the day, according to a letter Principal Kendall Harris sent to parents Nov. 6.

The message seemed to contain the word "bomb," and had "JK" -- an acronym used in text messaging for "just kidding" -- written next to it, the letter said.

"In such situations, we will always err on the side of caution," Harris wrote. "We immediately notified our district office and consulted with police."

Westerville police swept the building but located nothing dangerous, Harris said. School went on as usual Nov. 6.

The threat came a week after a bomb threat was found written on the wall at Westerville South High School. That message, which was found during the day, sent the school into lockdown and resulted in students being evacuated while police searched the building.

No serious threat was found by police in that case, either.

In both cases, school officials are looking for who wrote the graffiti, saying the students should be held accountable for their actions.

"At that age, students should have a basic, common-sense understanding that writing a threat on a wall isn't a wise decision and that there will be consequences for their actions," said district spokesman Greg Viebranz.

"The bottom line is that we won't tolerate this type of behavior and investigate each occurrence thoroughly. When we are able to identify the persons responsible, they face not only discipline from the school, but also the legal consequences of their actions."

Though neither threat was credible, Viebranz said the schools must take any threat seriously and work with police to ensure students' safety.

"We appreciate the assistance we receive from our law enforcement partners and look to them for guidance on how to proceed," Viebranz said. "We take each instance seriously, whether the graffiti is explicit or simply implies any potential threat to the school or its occupants."

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