Central York threats identified, originated with Central York middle school student

Written by Anthony J. Machcinski and Hafiz Rashid/The York Daily Record | Feb 26, 2018 11:06 AM

Springettbury Township Police Chief Dan Stump during a press conference at Springettsbury Township Police Department about the status of the investigation of threats against Central York School District. (Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

(Undated) -- A Central York Middle School girl has been identified as the source of threats of violence towards the school district, Springettsbury Township Police Chief Dan Stump said Sunday night.  

The girl showed officers how she made and spread the threats on social media, Stump said at a Sunday night press conference. Her goal was to disrupt school operations. He added the girl did not have the ability to carry out the threat.

The girl, whose name and age were not disclosed, currently has charges pending for terroristic threats stemming from the incident, Stump said. 

Staci Neuman, a mother of three children in the Central York School District, was among a large group of parents gathered outside the Springettsbury Township Police Department for the press briefing that started shortly after 9:30 p.m. 

Two of her children attend North Hills Elementary School just down the road from the middle school. 

"It's hard," Neuman said, fighting back tears. "It's very hard knowing that the school is so close to my girls."

Linda Veras-Lopez, another mother just outside of the police station, called the last few days "a frustrating experience."

"What was going through her mind?" Veras-Lopez said. "Why? Just to get out of school? And you put us through all of this hurt and stress and our kids don't want to go to school.

"(I'm just) sad for her that she felt like she needed to do this just so she can get out of school."

The girl has been told not to return to school, but the student's current enrollment status was not confirmed. 

"At this point, they have not been expelled," Stump said. "They have been told not to come to school."

The investigation was ongoing as of Sunday afternoon, and police said it was about 8 p.m. when "we came to a full understanding of what happened."

Further details about the investigation were not immediately available, but Stump said investigators interviewed her multiple times and "it was determined after a while that she was the one" behind both threats.

While the source of the threats has been determined, Springettsbury Township Police will continue to have an increased police presence at school Monday morning. 

The extra security - which includes banning backpacks in school - will remain in place. 

"We want the kids to feel safe and we want to be there to welcome them back to school," Stump said. 

Stump's announcement was met with a loud cheer from about two dozen parents in the crowd, who approached Stump afterward to thank him and the department for their hard work. 

Central York schools had been closed from Wednesday to Friday after threats surfaced early last week.

Two threats were discovered Monday night and Tuesday morning. In response, police launched a task force and beefed up their presence at schools across the district before the initial closures Wednesday. 

In the first threat, a Central York High School student on Monday overheard another in the hallway say, "Don't come to school tomorrow." Details became distorted as this information was shared and passed around on social media, police said.

A second threat was uncovered on social media Tuesday morning that mentioned police's presence at the high school and in response, focused on the middle and elementary schools. Later Tuesday morning, another social media post threatened that the person would be "coming all week."

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Stump said Central York schools would open Monday with several additional safety measures in place. 

There will be additional law enforcement personnel in and around school buildings across the district, with backpacks prohibited. Students who need to bring purses, handbags, musical instrument cases, or clothing for gym or other school activities will be subject to inspection, Central York Supt. Michael Snell said. 

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record

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