By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
On Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 students and faculty at the Four County Career Center of rural Archbold / Ridgeville Corners were evacuated due to a bomb threat. The threat was made via a letter found by a student on campus in a undisclosed location. Authorities are not releasing the location the letter was found at this time due to the ongoing investigation. The letter was handed over by the student who found it to a supervisor who handed the letter off to Superintendent Tim Meister who then contacted the Henry County Sheriff’s Department.
Nearly 1,200 students and staff were evacuated to neighboring Northwest State Community College per the school’s evacuation protocol for such matters via the school’s announcement system. Parents of Four County Career Center students and staff received a phone alert via the school’s alert system notifying what was occurring. According to Superintendent Meister the evacuation occurred at 12:54 p.m. and by 12:57 p.m. “there was not a soul in the building”, only taking three minutes to clear the large campus.
Superintendent Tim Meister stated in an interview with “The Village Reporter” after the building was successfully cleared, “Our staff did a tremendous job, they got the kids to a safe place quickly, they (staff) monitored them the entire time, and it is good for our parents to know their kids are in great hands.”
In an interview with one of the few students who remained on campus after the threat had been cleared (name being omitted due to being a minor), “We were notified by the school’s overhead announcement, we were not notified why we were leaving, just that we had to leave. We were sent all the way to Northwest State Community College and sat in the grass until our normal dismissal time, around two hours later”. When asked if everything was calm among students, she stated “not exactly, I feel it would have been calmer if they told us why we were being evacuated, nobody would tell the students why we were being evacuated.”
In an interview with Henry County Sheriff Michael D. Bodenbender, he confirmed that after the sweep conducted by law enforcement and fire was complete that staff were requested to return to their rooms to see if there was anything suspicious in their rooms, as those sweeping the building were obviously not familiar with the set up and items normally associated with each classroom. Assistance was also offered by the FBI but declined as local authorities had matters in hand according to Sheriff Bodenbender.
When asked “if the school had surveillance video in place”, Superintendant of schools Mr. Tim Meister confirmed that the school has cameras which will be used as part of the investigation, “it is safe to say we will use every resource we have available to assist the investigation”.
Four County Career Center provided experienced based education to prepare students for college, secondary education and a range of specific careers. The school has students from twenty two “base schools” from Fulton, Williams, Defiance and Henry Counties including Edon, Montpelier, North Central, Hilltop, Stryker, Fayette and Wauseon within The Village Reporter’s coverage areas.
Forrest R. Church may be reached at email@example.com.