School Takes Precaution

ST. MARYS — A local school district went into cautionary mode after being informed of a “potentially dangerous” situation by the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office Friday morning.

Superintendent Jerry Skiver noted the district received a phone call informing it of the situation.

“We had information of an issue off campus that could potentially be dangerous to the kids at school,” he said. “We went into controlled access.”

Controlled access, he noted, involves extensive monitoring of visitors.

“That means we’re going to — anybody coming into the building — we’re going to walk with them to wherever they’re going and escort them to their car when they leave,” Skiver said. “We also would meet the buses and make sure everything is OK.”

He said the controlled access lasted approximately 30 minutes, until law enforcement notified them that the “concern was contained.”

“Once the individual was contained, we were contacted and controlled access was lifted,” Skiver said.

All of the district’s buildings were notified, as well as the board of education members.

“And as soon as the threat had been diminished, they were all notified,” Skiver said.

Regarding the situation itself, he noted the district did not “know enough information as to what kind of threat or threats it may have been” to the district until after the threat was contained.

Skiver noted he was already at the high school Friday morning for a meeting, when high school Principal Dave Lewis informed him of the situation.

“So we said we need to control the access to the building,” he said.

Skiver noted it would be better for the district to “not take any chances” in the situation, regardless of the severity.

“It’s better to err on the side of caution because I didn’t want any of our kids in danger,” he said.

Skiver said at his previous position in Portsmouth, Ohio, his district went into lockdown because of a bank robbery in the area.

“We didn’t want to put the students in harm’s way,” he said.

“You never know when something is going to happen; however, there’s good communication within this district. Law enforcement is really good about their cooperation with the schools.”

Skiver commended those from the district involved in the situation.

“Everybody did a really great job,” he said. “All the individuals involved — Mr. Thornsberry, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Pohl, Mr. Steinbrunner was at the elementary building, Mr. Adams — all the individuals in the district pulled together and made sure that everyone was taken care of, so I’d have to commend everyone involved.”