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West Jefferson Hills schools put on lockdown as precaution from threat

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By Tim Karan
Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 5:01 a.m.

A vague threat against “a middle school” prompted an increase in police presence at each building in the West Jefferson Hills School District early Thursday morning.

The Pittsburgh division of the FBI received information on Wednesday concerning a possible threat against an unnamed middle school, according to a statement released by Jefferson Hills police Chief Gene Roach.

“Although the threat was unspecified and no particular school identified, (the FBI) investigation led them to further investigate a resident of Jefferson Hills,” Roach said. “Because of this local connection, the West Jefferson Hills School District was notified.”

West Jefferson Hills Superintendent Michael Panza said he was told about the threat late Wednesday evening and police explained that the incident stemmed from a text message received by a person in Ohio who then reported it to their local police. The FBI then was notified and traced the telephone to one of two locations — one in Latrobe and one in Jefferson Hills. The threat was unspecified and identified no specific school.

“Although the threat was not deemed credible, as a precaution, I asked the principals to enact the district-wide school safety plan (to) simply be certain that all doors are locked including the outside doors,” Panza said in a statement sent to parents.

“Also, the Jefferson Hills police and the Pleasant Hills police were present at all buildings. It was also recommended that we continue with a normal school day.”

Panza said law enforcement told him by 9:30 a.m. that there was no longer any threat to the community.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or

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