The Bedford Area School District values the trust of its students, parents, and community. We realize the importance of timely and accurate communication. As always, we endeavor to be open and honest with district information to continue to foster trust. This morning the district would like to inform the community about an alarming Safe2Say tip received last night. The tip involved a threat of violence towards Bedford Elementary School.
Last evening around 9:30 P.M., administrators received a Safe2Say Something tip, which is an anonymous reporting system that allows students and parents to provide pertinent information 24/7. The tip was produced by a parent who was alerted by their fifth grade student. The tip included screen shots revealing a Snapchat conversation between a few Bedford Elementary fifth graders and another individual. The other individual described how he was going to attack Bedford Elementary School on Wednesday, today.
The administration regularly engages in drills and plans in order to ensure safety and security. Our standard response whenever possible is to form a team of administrators. We quickly formed a team of seven administrators and devised a plan to identify the student. Within fifteen minutes, we discovered the student in question lived outside of the Bedford Area School District.
We quickly uploaded screen shots of the student’s Instagram account to the Safe2Say Something website and, in turn, they notified the West Allegheny School District. West Allegheny responded to the Safe2Say Something website with the student’s address and additional identifying information. The Findlay Police Department immediately responded to the tip.
By 10:40 P.M., we were able to do a conference call with Dr. Lippert, Superintendent of the West Allegheny School District, who provided us with timely local information. By 11:30 P.M., Dr. Lippert informed us the student admitted to the threats. At the present time, the West Allegheny School District and Findlay Police Department continue to investigate this situation and the student has been charged with a felony 3 terroristic threat. We have not established any clear connection between the student in question and the Bedford Area School District.
The district is incredibly thankful to the parent who provided the information and produced the Safe2Say Something tip. The parent’s timely information and supervision of the child’s online social media allowed the district, and ultimately law enforcement, to rapidly respond to this threat. We encourage all parents to engage in conversations with their children about social media and remind their children to report any suspicious activities.
Additionally, we want the community to know the district takes safety and security very seriously. We often engage in drills and regularly review our plans to deal with a variety of issues. In this particular incident, the district’s preparation and well-established communication protocols allowed for a quick investigation and resolution.
The district would like to thank Dr. Lippert, Superintendent of West Allegheny School District for her diligence and professionalism in this matter. Dr. Lippert’s coordination with the district provided us with timely information from afar. Additionally, we would like to thank the Findlay Police Department for their quick response to this threat.
Again, the Bedford Area School District thanks the community for its trust and hopes this information will continue to foster that trust. Additionally, we are committed to the safety and security of our students and staff. We take any threat seriously and aggressively investigate in an effort to protect our students.