Posted On: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

We wanted to give an update to our Lakewood City Schools community regarding the incidents that have occurred throughout the District since this past weekend.

At approximately 1:25 p.m. today, September 21, a Lakewood High School student was arrested and charged by the Lakewood Police Department with inducing panic as a result of making false claims indicating that he had knowledge about a gun at Lakewood High School.  This incident was immediately investigated by police in collaboration with school administration.  

This incident was the most recent in a string of incidents that have occurred since the initial threat at Lakewood High was discovered on Friday, September 16. Below is an update and timeline of those incidents:

  1. Since the original e-mail communication from Lakewood High School on Saturday, September 17, regarding threatening graffiti being written in a bathroom stall, several 24-hour hotline calls have been received and leads related to this vandalism have been reported. This information so far has yielded no evidence to support the credibility of the original threat.
  2. Sunday, September 18: An edited photograph of the graffiti threat at LHS was published to be proactive in response to the fact that an unedited photograph was circulating on social media.  
  3. Monday, September 19: Two separate incidents occurred, one at Harding Middle School and the other at Lakewood High School.  On Monday morning a Harding student was arrested for making threats against that school referencing the LHS graffiti. The incident at Harding was unconnected to LHS.  Monday afternoon, while questioning an LHS student about a discipline issue, a book bag search was conducted and a pocket knife was discovered.  The police were on site and that student was arrested.  There was no connection between this student and the graffiti incident. At no time were students threatened or in danger.
  4. Tuesday morning, September 20: New information was collected regarding the Harding student and alleged threats he had made to fellow students.  This information also was unrelated to the LHS graffiti and was being handled by the Lakewood Police Department.
  5. Tuesday afternoon, September 20: A student received information from an initially anonymous source indicating that a gun was going to be brought to the high school.  This threat was immediately reported to the Lakewood Police Department.  The police department followed up on this information through Tuesday afternoon and evening, leading to the arrest of a student for inducing a panic. Claims regarding a gun were confirmed by the Lakewood Police Department to be false.

We understand that clear and timely communication with all stakeholders is critical, especially when rumor and misinformation is spreading faster than fact.  The Lakewood Police Department, District administration, staff, students and families are all working together to keep our community safe. 

At no point were any of our students in danger. 

In an attempt to keep clears lines of communication open with all stakeholders, including students, our middle school and high school principals met today with their respective student bodies to remind them of safety and security procedures in order to avoid feeding into behavior that could be misconstrued as threatening or dangerous.  Our students’ safety is our highest priority. The points below were shared with student bodies to help facilitate that safety among their own peer groups. Please take time to review these with your children tonight:  

  • We continue to be impressed with our students’ courage to come forward to share information.  Thank you to our families for encouraging your children to report items of concern to building administrators, or to the 24-hour hotline (216-227-5311).
  • Please continue to monitor social media platforms.  Several students have been investigated by the Lakewood Police Department for potentially threatening photos or comments.  Please encourage your children to refrain from fueling rumors or posting items that could be misconstrued or outright threatening.
  • Visitors must enter all school buildings through the main entrance and obtain a visitor’s pass.  Parents, guardians or family members must also have a pass when in a school building. 
  • High school and middle school students must wear ID’s and have those visible at all times.  It is critical that staff members can identify our students quickly and differentiate students from visitors. 
  • Staff members are here to help students.  If rumors of violence or events that could result in potential injury are known, it is imperative that students share that information immediately with an adult in the building.
  • Be kind in words and actions.  Each day students can make a choice to make another’s life better. 

We thank you for your continued support.  

Jeff Patterson

Lakewood City Schools

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