City, county, school officials investigate ’SHS’ threat

By Melanie Speicher - [email protected]

SIDNEY — A Facebook threat against an unknown “SHS” educational facility has lead to increased security at Sidney City Schools for Friday.

Superintendent John Scheu posted on Facebook and via the school district’s messaging system a call was sent to all parents concerning the situation.

“A threat on Facebook was made tonight against SHS and SPD (Sidney Police Department) and Sheriff Department and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state have investigated this threat and determined the threat came from an area outside Ohio. Increased law enforcement personnel will be present throughout the district tomorrow and our school security and First Responder teams have been made aware of the issue. Additional steps have been put in place to make sure students and staff will be safe at school tomorrow (Friday),” said Scheu on the Sidney City School’s Facebook account.

According to a screenshot posted on social media, a post from Ray Andres read, “I will not being(sic) telling people what my name is, but I will bring a gun to school Tomorrow, so be prepared to hear shoots (sic).” A subsequent post read, “Yes SHS is the school I want.”

Sidney Police Chief Will Balling said many citizens contact the department Wednesday night concerning the Facebook posting.

“There were a number of citizen tips asking if we had seen the post,” said Balling. “They reached out to us to make sure we saw the post.

“Even though this event was not against us, we take these events seriously,” said Balling. “We appreciate the support we received from the community. This (phone calls) is exactly what we want you to do. If a kid or an adult makes a threat, we want to act on it before anything happens.”

Balling said Sheriff John Lenhart, Chief Deputy Jim Frye, Scheu and school principals met Wednesday night to discuss the situation and what would occur Thursday and Friday at the schools.

Increased patrols by Sidney officers will happen during the day, said Balling. Other agencies also called offering their services to help at the schools.

“While this was a scary thing for somebody to do (post), the Sheriff’s Office, Sidney High School, John Scheu and the Sidney Police Department worked well together,” said Balling.

Frye was also thankful for the cooperation from all the agencies and support of the community Wednesday evening.

“I received a call from Sidney City Schools Superintendent John Scheu advising me of the Facebook post,” said Frye. “Mr. Scheu sent me a copy of the post, which he received from a concerned student. Mr. Scheu and I discussed the situation and a plan was put into place. I called Capt. Tangeman of the Sidney Police Department and we got both of our agencies working together to locate the source of the Facebook post. We also had school administration with us while we were conducting our investigation to make sure they were continually updated.

“During our investigation we were able to determine that another agency had also received the same post and they had been working with Facebook to identify the author of the post. We were communicating with the other agency back and forth as they were keeping us up to date on their investigation. It was a short time later that we were advised by the other agency that the IP address of the post was out of state and that a department with jurisdiction was attempting to make contact with the subjects at the location of the IP address.

“We decided at that time that the threat was not intended toward Sidney High School, as what was first thought to be the case with the “SHS” posting and our local students and citizens sharing the post. A plan was put into place to have law enforcement personnel in place at the schools today to make students, parents and staff feel safe at school. The district also utilized their school security officers and their first responder teams during this morning’s arrival of students and our agency will have marked cruisers patrolling the district’s schools throughout the day.

“I would like to thank everyone who made us aware of the post, which is what we want them to do. If you see something that appears to be alarming with a local persons postings on any social media site, notify your local authorities immediately and we will look into the situation,” said Frye.

The Shawnee Township Police department in Allen County was inundated with phone calls Wednesday night from concerned parents looking for answers and wondering if the threat was aimed at Shawnee High School.

Detective Jack Miller says they’ve been in contact with other police departments to try and track down where the threat may be aimed at.

He says that the likely location the threat was aimed at was Springfield High School in Ohio.

By Melanie Speicher

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.