By Jeff Gallatin
City police and school district officials continue to investigate a note found scrawled on a Bay High School girls’ bathroom stall door Dec. 21, which made a general threat and said there was a gun in the school.
Since a police detective was already in the building, he and school officials began to investigate, and additional officers were called to the school after the note was found around 11 a.m. Principal Jason Martin also sent a note to parents alerting them to the note as well as outlining the staff response and potential consequences.
“It’s all your fault. The world may not end but yours will. Gun in the school,” the note read.
It came on the same day, Dec. 21, 2012, on which some had said the old Mayan calendar predicted the world would end, and just days after the mass murder and shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn.
School and police officials said the threat was taken seriously.
“We asked the staff to teach with their doors closed and locked for the remainder of the day to be safe,” Superintendent Clint Keener said. “We also reviewed tapes from security cameras and had the detective and staff making rounds in the building. We also had additional police stationed in the building especially at the end of the day to provide safety and security for students as they exited the building.”
Keener said officials considered evacuating the school and closing it for the day, but decided not to based on the evidence at hand.
“We reviewed the security tapes and talked to students who were apparently in the bathroom or had access to it,” he said. “We probably talked to the person who did it, but that person has clammed up to this point. We found no evidence of a gun or specific safety threat to students or staff, and we had police and staff alert to the possibility of any potential problems as well as alerting parents, so we decided to keep the school open.”
Bay Village police Detective Kevin Krolkosky said the department continues to investigate the matter as a criminal incident.
“We’re looking at it as inducing panic as well as menacing and a threat to people’s safety,” he said. “That is something we will prosecute and take seriously, particularly given recent events. The students were wound up anyway given the fact that it was the day for the Mayan calendar prediction, the last day of school before the Christmas break and the events at Sandy Hook just a few days before. So, there was a lot going through people’s heads when you see something like this.”
Keener noted that there was related discussion when some parents heard of another group of students discussing in the cafeteria on an earlier day what actions might be taken by some people if the Mayan calendar prediction were indeed true.
“Some students were just talking or speculating that someone might shoot up school because there would be no repercussions because the world would be ending,” Keener said. “It was not perceived as a threat and we did talk to students when we heard about it. But apparently, some parents did keep their children home from school because of that.”
Both Keener and Krolkosky said if anybody sees anything out of the ordinary or notices anything unusual to report it to police and school officials for action.