Central York threats: Schools closed for Friday, the third day in a row

Written by Ted Czech/The York Daily Record | Feb 22, 2018 6:37 PM

From left, Central York Superintendent Michael Snell, Springettsbury Township Police Chief Daniel E. Stump, and York County District Attorney Dave Sunday hold a news conference Wednesday regarding threats against Central schools. (Photo: Sean Heisey)

(Undated) -- As schools will remain closed Friday for a third day, investigators into this week's threats against Central York School District believe that someone has information about the perpetrator but may be protecting them, Springettsbury Township Police Chief Dan Stump said.

"We have concerns that it possibly is happening," Stump said Thursday at a news conference. "We feel somebody out there knows something that's not being shared at this time ... So why are we protecting someone who's threatening the lives of our kids in the community?"

Stump said he could not fathom why someone would do such a thing.

"If someone knows something, they need to get it out," he said.

Stump, along with district Supt. Michael Snell and York County District Attorney David Sunday, held two news conferences Thursday to update the public on the investigation. 

Stump and Snell said that they will eventually have to consider how long to keep kids out of class given that no one is custody.

"We can't allow this to shut us down long-term," Stump said. 

Snell said there are no more make-up days and that canceled days will be added to the end of the school year. He said his first goal is to "get everybody back to normal" and kids back in class.

"But you still can't expect us to send our children to school if this person's not found, correct?" asked Linda Veras-Lopez, whose children attend Central schools.

"At some point, we have to cross that conversation of, when do we come back, whether we have somebody in custody or not," Snell said. "Any parent has the right to keep their child home if they feel the situation is unsafe."

"We do not have anyone in custody at this time," Stump said, adding that there are people of interest in the investigation. "We are continuing to receive tips, they've been coming in all through the night."

Task force members, who number more than 20 and hail from local, state and federal agencies, have been relentless in tracking down every lead, he said.

"We're getting down to detectives doing old-fashioned police work, going person-to-person, door-to-door," Stump said.

In the days since threats prompted officials to close the schools, investigators have put in a few hundred man hours trying to find those responsible.

"Our desire would have been to solve this days ago," Stump said.

"It is difficult. It's a timely process. We don't want to leave a single stone unturned ... I would say it's wearing on the whole community the same as it is us." 

Police and school officials began investigating threats made on both Monday and Tuesday, although investigators did not confirm either were connected. The investigation left the schools closed beginning Wednesday without a clear timetable as to when students would return.

Snell encouraged parents and students to have conversations about what happened this week.

"That's one conversation at a time, eyeball-to-eyeball, face-to-face," he said. "To our students, I would say return that respect to your parents and continue to have really good conversations about what this means in this day and age, with going to school, with going to any public place."

Another news briefing is planned for 3 p.m. Friday.

Anyone with information is being asked to send tips to STPDTIPS @SPRINGETTSBURY.COM.

Town meeting on safety and security:

Central York School District has scheduled a special town meeting on safety and security for faculty, staff, families and community members at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Central York High School, 601 Mundis Mill Road, Springettsbury Township.

"During the meeting, we will review the proactive measures in place to safeguard our schools, hear from law enforcement officials and listen to feedback and concerns from our families and community," according to a news release.

Prayer services planned:

A prayer service is planned for 7 p.m. today at Providence Presbyterian Church, 1215 Church Road, Manchester Township.

A prayer service also is planned at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2121 Roosevelt Ave., Manchester Township.

The service is a chance "to pray for the safety of our schools and for safety and guidance for our law enforcement officers, school administrators and local, state and national government leaders," according to an email from Good Shepherd Pastor Skip Nizinski. 

It was the idea of a local chapter of the "Mothers in Prayer" group that meets regularly to pray for Central York High School.

"We will be praying for all schools, not just Central York," Nizinski wrote. "As Central York has canceled classes the past two days we will continue to wrap all students, including those in Parkland, FL in our prayers. Please join us in prayer. Thank you."

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

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