BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Authorities said nothing threatening was found after a phone call to police Friday prompted a lock down at Bay High School in Bay Village.
Phone call leads to lockdown
According to Bay Village Police Chief Kathy Leasure, an unknown person called the department's non-emergency phone number just before 1 p.m. and reported that there was someone in a bathroom at the high school who was armed with guns and knives and was threatening to shoot up the school.
The school's resource officer was notified about the call and a lockdown protocol was implemented. Police from other local agencies arrived to assist Bay Village officers. A thorough search of the school resulted in nothing credible. No weapons were found.
As a precaution, the district moved the students to Bay Presbyterian Church where they were later released to their parents.
The lockdown lasted for several hours.
Impact on the police, rest of the community
Leasure said investigators are looking into the matter and working to pinpoint the origin of the phone call. Police were unable to say if the call was from someone local or out of the area.
The chief said incidents like this are a major problem not just for Bay Village but for other agencies that respond to assist.
"We had fire departments on standby just in case we had other agencies calling out saying, we're here, we're ready to help you out. So it not only impacts a village, but impacts all these other agencies and all these other cities that came in helped us out," Leasure said.
The situation prompted other local businesses to take precautionary measures as well.
"It wasn't just a high school that was put on lockdown. You know, you had everything from the childcare center at Glenview School all the way through the high school—so the middle school, the intermediate schools and elementary schools, everything was put on lockdown for hours," Leasure said.
According to police, the caller, once identified, could face charges such as inducing panic.
Authorities said the event was a potential "swatting" incident, purposely causing alarm through police response.
While no injuries occurred during the event, first reposnders were called for a student having an anxiety attack. The student was treated and released on scene.
Right now, the department is asking motorists to stay off of Lake Road to help alleviate the heavy traffic in the area.
A parent reacts
One parent, who arrived shortly after the lockdown went into effect, called the situation "anxiety-producing,” but trusted that the school had the situation handled.
“Knowing that the high school has gone through these types of drills, I’m confident they have things under control,” the parent said.
The mother said she learned about the lockdown through a message system the school uses to alert parents. She said her heart sank when she saw the message and then immediately texted her son to make sure he was OK.
“He texted me what he thought was happening. So, just because I knew that he responded, he was in an okay situation," she said.
Afterward, she tried to get as much information as possible from Facebook and other communications and thought about heading to the school. Instead, she took heed from district officials who sent messages asking parents to avoid going to the school due to the high amount of police activity.
“I live close to the high school so I could kind of see some activity and then I could see helicopters overhead. And just.. dreading the worst but hoping for the best,” she said.
In the end, the mother said her son told her he was “Okay, and a little scared."
State Rep. Monique Smith issued the following statement regarding the lockdown.
"I am relieved and thankful that the lockdown situation at Bay Village High School today ended with no injuries. But parents, students and members of the community were rightfully frightened. We have seen time and time again across the nation that these situations can end in tragedy. We do not have to live like this in America. We can ensure that there are intervention resources for individuals who are threats to themselves and others, and we can join other states in passing Red Flag laws to prevent them from having access to guns."
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