Hillsboro High School and Middle School were placed on lockdown for much of the day Tuesday after an apparent threat was written on a bathroom wall, officials said, but police did not apprehend a suspect or find any weapons or contraband in an extensive search of the premises.
Rumors were swirling and the phone in the administrative office at the high school was ringing off the hook as police officers searched lockers and students alike, following reports of a threatening message written on the wall of the women’s bathroom in the high school side of the building, according to Hillsboro Police Chief Darrin Goudy.
Goudy told The Times-Gazette that officers responded and the school was placed on lockdown around 10 a.m. Tuesday after the message was reported.
“After we searched all the lockers and checked the common areas, we pulled the students out of their classrooms one at a time and checked them,” Goudy said.
The search, which included a sweep of all the classrooms on the high school side, did not turn up any weapons or contraband, Goudy said, contrary to some rumors that were going around early Tuesday.
Goudy said one unusually specific rumor — that police found a gun in the school and drugs in 14 lockers — was “absolutely false.”
Still, the chief said the police department is investigating the incident and will pursue charges if a suspect is identified.
“We’re looking at a minimum (charge) of inducing panic,” Goudy said. “This is an ongoing investigation and we’re going to use all means necessary to find who is responsible for this. If we find who it was, they will be charged.”
As for the writing on the wall, Goudy declined to go into specifics as to its content, but said the author made it clear they intended to harm other students in the school.
“We take those (threats) very seriously,” Goudy said.
All students were released on time and regularly scheduled events at the school were expected to go on as normal the rest of the day, according to Goudy.
Superintendent Tim Davis said that while he understands that some people were inconvenienced as they tried to pick kids up from school and he is sorry about that, the number one priority was making sure the students and staff were safe.
“The Hillsboro Police Department and chief Darrin Goudy did a great job,” Davis said. “They were very thorough and we feel very confident there wasn’t a threat in the building.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.