Sheriff’s office: No verifiable or credible threats to Clear Fork schools, community


BELLVILLE — The  Richland County Sheriff’s Office has concluded its investigation into a potential threat in the Bellville area Friday morning.

They said it was much ado about nothing, that the threat could not be substantiated and that postings on social media throughout the morning made the incident more difficult to control.

According to a news release from the sheriff’s office:

“The information reported to Butler Elementary officials could not be verified as truthful. The investigation was prolonged because of false information being reported in social media. There are no verifiable or credible threats toward Clear Fork schools or the community based on the information received from officials.L

Reports began circulating Friday mid-morning that the high school and middle school complex at Clear Fork Village Local Schools was on a cautionary lockdown, following the recommendation of local law enforcement.

Information later was received that school staff and law enforcement also were upgrading their presence at Clear Fork Valley School’s elementary schools in Butler and Bellville.

Clear Fork Valley Schools superintendent Janice Wyckoff said late morning that students were in classes and school was proceeding as if Friday ws just a usual day.

This information was given to the public via the Clear Fork Valley Schools Twitter account early this morning:

“Student safety is our reason for the cautionary lockdown. Law enforcement have been stationed at all buildings and staff are on high alert,” a district official said.

No direct or indirect threats have been made to the school. This is precautionary due to an issue in the communityn not at any of the schools.”

Here is a link to the Clear Fork Valley School’s website.

This statement was released later in the morning.

“We are releasing at regular times today. Law enforcement will be present during release times.”

About 11 a.m., the sheriff’s office released this statement:

“Deputies responded this morning to Clear Fork Schools after the school received information of a potential threat in the community. Deputies are at the schools and in the area investigating the threat and providing extra patrol. Everyone is safe. The Sheriff’s Office will update the public as they work through the investigation to verify the information.”

Reportedly, school districts in Lexington; Ontario; and Shelby, including Pioneer; and Olivesburg also had been placed on ‘soft’ lockdowns.

This information was released on the Crestview Facebook page, and similar announcements were made on other Richland County schools websites:

“Crestview Schools are on a soft lockdown; allegedly there is an individual in Richland County on the run and may be armed. Our students are safe; please contact the Board Office if you have questions. To clarify, a soft lockdown means that the outside doors of the schools are currently locked. This is a precautionary measure. There is no specific threat to our schools.”

After students were released today by Clear Fork Valley Schools, several people complimented the school district and area law enforcement for the outstanding job then did on Friday.