CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio - The superintendent of the Cuyahoga Falls School District has sympathy for the staff and students at Olmsted Falls High School after a bomb threat caused an evacuation and a lot of concern Wednesday morning.
Last spring, Dr. Todd Nichols felt the stress of that type of situation several times.
He made the decision to close Cuyahoga Falls High School three times after three specific e-mails sent to the district threatened a bomb would detonate inside the school.
"All three times, we took the situation seriously," Nichols said.
The FBI and Secret Service assisted with the investigation and determined the e-mails were sent from an untraceable server. The sender was never identified.
Bomb threats pose a dilemma for school districts, which must balance student safety versus "giving in" to the person making the threat.
Unlike the Olmsted Falls situation, Cuyahoga Falls school officials did not have to evacuate the building because the e-mails were received before the high school opened.
"In an evacuation situation, it is much more difficult. The logistics that are associated with evacuations, especially a large high school like we have, those logistics are difficult to manage," Nichols said.
Cuyahoga Falls district officials have met with police officers and firefighters since the threats were made and have adjusted their security plan in the event of future bomb threats.
"Frankly, (it) would cause us to say in school much more frequently now than we may have in the past," Nichols said.
Nichols also expressed frustration over cost to districts when bomb threats close schools. Teachers and support staff are sometimes paid for not working. Food being prepared for lunches can be wasted.
"You lose educationally. It's a day of school that, with increased demands that are placed upon our teachers and our students, that day of education means something."