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Lower Swatara police find no "credible threat of violence" at Middletown Area Middle School

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 12/9/19

Lower Swatara Township police interviewed “countless” Middletown Area Middle School students over the weekend and concluded there is no credible threat of violence directed at the …

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Lower Swatara police find no "credible threat of violence" at Middletown Area Middle School

Posted

Lower Swatara Township police interviewed “countless” Middletown Area Middle School students over the weekend and concluded there was no credible threat of violence directed at the school today, according to Middletown Area School district officials.

The potential for violence came to light during dismissal at MAMS on Friday, and it was reported to police at 4:15 p.m.

The middle school principal was informed of a rumor circulating among MAMS students alleging that an act of violence was to be carried out at MAMS on Monday. The type of act was not specified by the district, but Lower Swatara Police Chief Jeff Vargo told the Press & Journal it was a threat to shoot up the school.

Vargo said through the investigation, they found “nothing” to substantiate that the student made a threat to shoot up the school or took any steps to do so.

Vargo called it an “outburst in class.”

“The police were able to determine that the source of the alleged threat was misconstrued information shared among middle school students during school on Friday which originated from a student having a bad day when frustrated with an assignment,” according to a statement from the district.

Upon receiving this information, the superintendent immediately contacted Vargo and reported the information so that law enforcement could investigate.

“The district must always take alleged threats seriously. However, it is unfortunate that the embellishment of a situation and circulation of rumors resulted in panic among students and parents. The district appreciates the hard work of the Lower Swatara Township Police Department in investigating this matter all weekend. The police have offered to be an extra presence around our schools tomorrow to help lessen students’ and parents’ anxiety as we return to classes tomorrow.”

Vargo agreed that an increased police presence is possible for the near future, “just to give parents a sense of comfort.”

“I can’t praise the school district and Dr. Suski enough for how supportive and inviting they have been to the police department,” Vargo said.

The investigation is closed, and no one will be charged.