EAST MARLBOROUGH—Two students have been arrested after threatening to “shoot up” Unionville High School in separate incidents last week.
Both students, who are juveniles, were arrested and charged with terroristic threats, and face expulsion from school.
On Sunday, April 28, the school district received an anonymous tip through the Safe2Say app involving a student at Unionville High School, said John Sanville, superintendent of schools. Law enforcement authorities were notified.
“Upon receipt of the tip, we immediately alerted the Pennsylvania State Police who then went to the home of the student mentioned,” Sanville said. “After completing their assessment, authorities indicated that there was no imminent danger involving this student.”
Administrators at Unionville High School immediately followed up on the threat. Administrators and the Pupil Services team met with the student on April 29.
“Subsequently, from this meeting, we learned that another student had made a threat to shoot up the school via an online message on a gaming platform,” Sanville said. “The student who made the threat was immediately removed from the classroom and law enforcement was called. Police were able to determine that the student (family) does not own or have access to any firearms. Ultimately, the student was arrested for making a terroristic threat and is in custody of law enforcement.”
School officials received another Safe2Say tip last week indicating that another high school student threatened to “bomb and shoot up the school.” The tipster stated that this threat was made by the student in conversation and not on social media.
The student was immediately removed from the classroom and the Pennsylvania State Police were informed of the tip, Sanville said. The student was ultimately arrested for making a terroristic threat and is in custody of law enforcement.
Sanville said the district will fully cooperate with law enforcement as they continue their investigation into the threats.
“In the interest of the safety of our students, staff, and community - we take recent events very seriously,” Sanville said. “To be clear - we will contact our local law enforcement if a threat is made and the appropriate charges will be filed. In addition - as outlined in our Student Code of Conduct - making a terroristic threat is punishable by suspension and expulsion.”
Christa Fazio, communications director for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, said no academic or athletic activities have been disrupted because of the threats.
Safe2Say is a smart phone application run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to say something before it is too late. Safe2Say works like this: Users submit an anonymous tip report through the Safe2SaySomething system, the crisis center reviews, assesses and processes all submissions, and the crisis center sends all submissions to school administration and law enforcement for intervention
“I am thankful to the students who used the Safe2Say app allowing us to discover this disturbing event and bring it to a swift and safe conclusion,” Sanville said. “We are also mindful of the stress these situations can have on children and adults, and we have trained professionals ready to assist students and faculty.”