PERRY, Ohio - Perry police are on high alert after three threats of gun violence were found inside a local school.
Even though officers said they believe the threats were a hoax, they're making sure the messages written on the restroom walls at Perry High School don't come true.
"It puts us in a defensive mode. The school is 100 percent our main priority. We try to make sure all the kids are safe. We want the parents to drop the kids off and feel safe that they're going to be OK," said Perry Police Chief Mike Shank.
Custodians first reported writing on the wall of the girl's restroom Tuesday afternoon that read "Perry shooting will happen no one believes help,” The incident was immediately reported to police.
"But because it was so light in pencil and you couldn't see it, it was tough to determine when that appeared, if it had been there for a while," said Perry Superintendent Jack Thompson.
Wednesday morning, while on a check of the campus, Shank found another message. This time it read "a shooting is coming.”
Police and Thompson said the latest message Thursday that said a shooting will happen on Thursday or Friday was reason to increase surveillance efforts.
"We thought it’s time to really let parents know, let the community know that there has been a threat," Thompson said. "There was specific information that would lead us to believe ‘Hey, they're giving us a time.’"
While police said they believe this is a student seeking attention, officers are not treating this incident like a joke. They had a K-9 cop on site, in addition to extra officers inside and outside of the school at times.
"An incident like this puts an unnecessary burden on the community, both economically and emotionally," Shank said. "Officers, we overtime for them to come in. The school district itself, if they have to make up one of these days at the end of the year because they had to cancel school. It’s going to be six figures. It's a burden on everybody's budgets."
Thompson said he's concerned about the stability of the student.
"You just never understand kind of what the intent. Is this a terrible thing to do just to get a Friday off. If that's the case of the student, but we like to think we want to help kids, but this is a symptom of a larger problem and we're here to help," he said.
Police said anyone with any information on this case should contact them on their anonymous hotline.
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