Western School District stands by its actions after alleged bomb threat rumor

Some parents in the Western School District in Barry continue to voice concerns over an alleged bomb threat rumor proven to be false last Thursday.

That's when the Pike County Sheriff's Office received an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip that someone had overhead a threat being made toward the school and/or a school bus. We found out how that morning's events played out and why.

"Somebody took it as a threat to start with or they wouldn't have delayed school starting," said James McDade, a parent of a student in the Western School District.

Western School Superintendent Carol Frericks says that's not the case.

"We did not have a threat to our school. Unfortunately, things get overheard and we need to check them out, and we wanted to check this out to make sure this wasn't a threat or any kind of concern," said Superintendent Carol Frericks.

"Essentially the caller stated they heard from somebody who heard from somebody that there was an alleged statement made from a young man who was agitated at the school or student body," said Sheriff Paul Petty.

"We started contacting school officials and the superintendent and I determined we needed to check the buses, and we did and that's why the buses were held back. We found nothing," said Chief Deputy Steve Lehr.

In the meantime, the school sent out this automated phone call to parents: "The western school buses are running approximately 45 minutes late today. School will be in session. Student who do not ride the bus are to report to school as usual with the hours of 8:10 a.m. to 3 p.m."

"At that time, we wanted to make sure all of our facts were accurate before we communicated information, and as soon as we had, we posted it on our website and sent it home to parents," said Frericks.

"The problem was, there was kids at school for an hour, right by the buses, waiting. Well if there was an issue with the buses, why would you even let the children near them?" said McDade.

"In this investigation, there was never a threat immediate to the school. It was simply following up on a rumor that was heard," said Petty.

The superintendent also spoke to the students who may have been involved in the original conversation and confirmed no threat was made to the school.

The Pike County Sheriff's Department urges people who intend to use the Crime Stoppers line for serious crimes to leave as much information as possible, including contact information.