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Ligonier Valley 8th-grader accused of making threats of 'shooting up the school'

| Friday, May 16, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

An eighth-grade student has been charged with two counts of terroristic threats in juvenile court because he allegedly made verbal threats at Ligonier Valley Middle School.

Ligonier Township police Chief Mike Matrunics said several students came forward on May 1 to report that a 13-year-old boy had made verbal threats about “shooting up the school” and referenced the stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville, where a student is accused of stabbing 20 students and a guard.

The Ligonier Valley student, who has not been identified by the school district or police, has been removed from the building, according to the chief.

He declined to say whether the student was suspended or expelled.

Matrunics said proper action was taken by the school and police to investigate the threats.

“It's basically all over with at this point,” he said. “I feel right now it is under control and handled.”

Matrunics said a witness mentioned a reference to a hit list, but no such list was found. No weapons were found in the student's possession, he said.

Superintendent Christine Oldham said the school followed district policy in handling the report.

“We sent out a one-call to parents to let them know there was a general threat made and that it had been investigated and handled, and we felt confident that it had been addressed, and there were no concerns for safety,” she said.

Oldham said the district is fortunate with the support it receives from the township force, along with the Ligonier Borough Police Department.

“They just walk through so the kids see them, so the kids are familiar and comfortable with them,” she said. “We are so lucky to have the police forces that we do.”

Matrunics does not want students or parents to become alarmed when officers patrol the schools.

“If you see anything or hear anything odd, you need to report it,” is the message he would like to convey.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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