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Jeff Tech locked down, evacuated after threat via social media

February 29, 2012

The students and staff of the Jefferson County-DuBois Area Vocational Technical School were evacuated Tuesday when a threat of firearms and explosives via social media was made against students at the school. (File photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

REYNOLDSVILLE — A male juvenile was arrested for making threats of violence against students at the Jefferson County-DuBois Area Vocational Technical School (Jeff Tech) Tuesday morning.

According to DuBois-based Pennsylvania State Police, a threat was made via a social media outlet against Jeff Tech students, implying that firearms and explosives would be used against members of the student population.

According to police, it was determined that a 16-year-old male juvenile acted alone in the commission of this crime and will be charged with disorderly conduct.

Police said the suspect was taken into custody by the Jefferson County Juvenile Probation Department, and charges will be filed before District Judge David B. Inzana in Reynoldsville.

Principal John Kimmel said the school was first placed on lockdown when the threat was discovered.

Once the building was secured, students and staff were evacuated to C.G. Johnson Elementary School in Reynoldsville, he said.

“It was three-and-a-half hours before we were given the all clear and permitted to return to our building,” Kimmel said.

The school was searched by state police and a bomb-sniffing dog with assistance from the Reynoldsville Volunteer Fire Company.

Kimmel said every aspect of the lockdown and evacuation went as practiced during its drills.

“When we hold drills, it can’t be for a specific threat like this, but we rehearse for any and all possible threats or emergencies,” he said. “I want to thank the great job done by the state police, the fire company and our staff for a very orderly evacuation of the building.

“I can’t say enough about the great job our staff did, everyone performed their jobs perfectly, and no one was injured,” Kimmel said, also thanking the DuBois Area School District for allowing Jeff Tech students to stay at its elementary school while the building was searched.

Bruce A. Morris, DuBois-based State Police public information officer, said law enforcement regards all threats made against schools, students and staff members as very serious, and will utilize every means available to pursue the actors in these type of crimes.

After the all clear was given, Jeff Tech classes resumed as scheduled.

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