Hilliard Davidson High School’s homecoming pep rally scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct.4, was canceled in reaction to threats that were determined to be unfounded, according to school district and Hilliard Division of Police officials.
Stacie Raterman, director of communications for Hilliard City Schools, and Andrea Litchfield, a spokeswoman for the Hilliard Division of Police, both confirmed Oct. 4 that no lockdown had occurred, contrary to comments on social media.
Litchfield called the reports “a rumor that’s getting blown out of proportion.”
Raterman called the reports of a lockdown a rumor and that no threats were made.
In response, the district and Hilliard police issued a joint statement about 11:30 a.m. that appealed to parents to have a “serious talk” with children about keeping schools safe.
When asked why the rally was canceled, Raterman said she wouldn’t comment on anything beyond the joint statement.
The statement reads in part, “We are proud that many of our students have embraced the ‘see something, say something’ attitude. We know safety is a partnership, and we depend on our students to be honest and let us know when things seem to be wrong or when they may feel threatened in a situation.”
It continued: "With that said, we are concerned some people still think it’s funny or just a joke to make threatening comments. In the past week, the Hilliard City School District and the Hilliard Division of Police have received many reports of students uttering statements about violence surrounding Davidson High School. These statements were thoroughly investigated by HPD and found to be either rumors or statements made in jest.
"Today the magnitude of these rumors became a disruption to our school day. For that reason, the Homecoming Pep Rally at Davidson was canceled. There was never any threat of violence. The principal addressed the students to try and stop the rumors."
According to the statement, in the past week, the school district and police have received many reports of students uttering statements about violence surrounding Davidson High School. Those statements were investigated thoroughly by the police department and found to be either rumors or statements made in jest, the statement read.
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of educating your children about appropriate use of social media. What seems like a harmless joke or comment can initiate a very real series of purposeful responses by school officials and law enforcement. Disciplinary action and/or criminal charges could be the result, “ Superintendent John Marschhausen said in the statement.
Police Chief Robert Fisher added, “Given the current events that occur regularly in our country and the level of concern that I hear daily from our parents and students, the police and the district are taking a zero-tolerance attitude to threats or even joking of threats. We have to put a stop to these actions.”