Keeping students safe requires good relationship between police and schools

Local News

The officials we talked to said they take every threat, no matter how small, seriously

NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In recent weeks, a number of local school districts have dealt with threats. When it comes to school threats in the Valley, the key for safety is a good relationship between the school and local police department.

“When we receive the information, we automatically contact Tom Yazvac, the superintendent,” said New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’Egidio. “If he receives information that something is going to be going on at the schools, he’ll contact our police department, as well as the Springfield Township Police Department.”

D’Egidio said he’s had a couple of run-ins with school threats in the past but none that were serious.

If an active threat to a school is identified, it is handled just like a threat anywhere else.

“Law enforcement is going to respond to that location, whether it be a school or a business, and take the action to end that threat,” D’Egidio said.

“The hard part for law enforcement, and I understand for people that are very involved in social media, where is that line drawn?” said Boardman Police Chief Todd Werth.

He admitted online threats are taken just as seriously as any others.

What makes it a threat is when menacing words are used, especially those that entice others to join in certain behaviors.

Most cases vary in severity but, ultimately, can lead directly to prosecution.

“Whether it’s simply seeking that person out and talking to them, if it’s close to that line, or something more serious,” Werth said.

“We have to be careful what information we give to parents and community members,” said Springfield Local Schools Superintendent Tom Yazvac.

He said parents are always made aware of a threat, whether it’s viable or not. Still, sometimes in an ongoing investigation, details may not be allowed to be released.

“We’ll check with our experts over here, and we’ll investigate and determine how soon and to whom we give our notification to,” Yazvac said.

He said parents have every right to want to know and he does his best to relay that information.

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