Hanover Area Amps Up Security As Police Probe Possible Threat

September 22, 2018
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Hanover Area Amps Up Security As Police Probe Possible Threat

HANOVER TWP. — Security was up and attendance down at Hanover Area Junior Senior High School on Friday as police investigated a purported threat of a school shooting, according to officials.

Police officers and a metal detector greeted students at the school Friday morning as a precaution, although it appears the threat on the school was not real, authorities said.

“The kids were in no harm, believe me. That school was well guarded today,” school board President John Mahle said.

The security scare centered on a social media warning about a shooting at a homecoming pep rally being held Friday in the high school gym, Superintendent Bill Jones said. But despite dire warnings being spread online, it appeared nobody directly saw an actual threat against the school, he said.

“They heard it was a threat, and they put that on social media,” Jones said.

A cellphone screen shot of a message being circulated on social media Friday spread an unsourced rumor of a threat.

“Many people have told me that there are boys planning to shoot up the school at the pep rally tomorrow,” the message said. “Please tell as many people as you can. It could be fake but also could be very real.”

The name of the person who wrote the message had been redacted.

Township police noted the Snapchat message contained no specific information identifying Hanover Area as the target of the threat.

“Officers have not been able to confirm the validity of the implied threat,” police said in a statement. “While the post was shared after the fact by many local students, when the post was authored and by whom is still under investigation.”

Jones said school continued on schedule Friday because it appeared the threat was not legitimate.

“We went through with the pep rally, but we did beef up security,” Jones said. “We increased the security and we did have our metal detector being used.”

As a precautionary measure, police added officers inside and outside the school on Friday, and planned to have an increased presence at the homecoming parade and football game Friday night, police said.

Despite the increase in security and a morning robocall assuring parents that the threat appeared unfounded, a number of parents posted to social media that they were not sending their children to school.

Jones said he did notice fewer students. Normally for a pep rally the gym would be at capacity, but attendance was down by as much as a quarter on Friday, he said.

“There was a noticeable drop in students,” Jones said.

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