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Bethel Park to close schools again Monday due to threats

Jamie Martines
| Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, 5:42 p.m.

Bethel Park School District will remain open Friday but will closed Monday following several threats of violence directed at district schools.

The superintendent explained the decision in a letter posted on the district website late Thursday afternoon. The decision to close schools Monday was made following a meeting between district administrators and school police and resource officers to review security plans.

Superintendent Joseph Pasquerilla urged anyone with knowledge of individuals involved in making the threats to contact Bethel Park Police Department or district staff.

"Sharing rumors on social media and spreading hearsay does not help," Pasquerilla said in the letter. "It only creates panic and uncertainty, and perpetuates a culture of fear and concern, which is not helpful to restoring order and calm in our classrooms. It is our hope that you would share any information with the proper channels to determine if a true threat exists, rather than sharing it on social media or spreading it verbally."

Classes were cancelled Thursday to alleviate anxiety after learning that many parents planned to keep their children home from school.

Late last month, school officials found two written messages at Bethel Park High School threatening violence Thursday, Oct. 12, and Monday, Oct. 16. Officials would not say precisely where the threats were found or what they said.

In response, the district put a security plan in place on that included an increased police presence and asking students not to bring backpacks to campus.

District officials had planned to keep schools open Thursday despite the threats up until late Wednesday when more threats started circulating on social media.

The district originally planned to also keep schools open Friday and Monday.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at jmartines@tribweb.com, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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