Threats prompt lockdown, closure of Coatesville Area High School

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) and Caln Township Police are working with Coatesville Area School District (CASD) to investigate numerous threats made to Coatesville Area High School (CASH) in the past week. Tips about threats are coming in through Safe2Say and direct calls to CASH.

CASH was put on lockdown on Oct. 13, after three separate Safe2Say tips were received from the Attorney General’s Office about a possible weapon that could be used in an act of violence. CASD police investigated; the Chester County Sheriff’s Dept. searched the school for weapons along with other law enforcement agencies and a canine unit. No weapons were found, and students were safely dismissed.

A subsequent threat was received through Safe2Say on Oct. 14, forcing CASH to cancel school. Caln Police and Chester County Detectives are investigating.

DA Deb Ryan said, “Any person who makes a credible threat to a school in Chester County is on notice that law enforcement takes these extremely seriously and will investigate each one. The safety of students, teachers, and staff at school is of utmost concern, especially given the school tragedies at Uvalde, Parkland, Sandy Hook, and far too many others. We have no choice but to err on the side of caution to ensure everyone’s safety.

If we determine a threat was made to disrupt school as a joke, we will hold those accountable for their actions and prosecute them. These false reports have caused tremendous hardship and trauma to our students, parents, staff, and law enforcement, and it must stop now.”

CASD Interim Superintendent Rick Dunlap said, “While we want students to use the Safe2Say Tip Line for legitimate concerns and reports, it’s important that our students and parents understand that anyone who makes threats on this tip line for the purpose of disrupting school will be disciplined and possibly face criminal charges. This simply will not be tolerated.”

Caln Police Chief Joseph Elias said, “No threat toward our community and schools will ever be ignored or treated as a mere prank. Law enforcement will continue to thoroughly investigate each and every one of these unfortunate acts, and make decisions collectively with school officials that are in the best interest of public safety.”

On Oct. 7, CASD was forced to cancel the Homecoming football game between CASH and Downingtown West High School after online threats of violence were made and deemed credible by law enforcement. CASH dismissed students early from school as a result of the threats.

These types of school threats are happening with more frequency across Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the country.

We urge parents to monitor their child’s social media. If anyone sees a post that causes concern for school safety, screenshot the post and immediately notify law enforcement, call 911, or make a report to Safe2Say. Do not re-post.

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