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BREAKING: Bloomfield School to remain on lockdown with increased police presence throughout next week

Friday, January 25, 2013

Superintendent Dan Sichting announced late Friday that Bloomfield School District will remain on lockdown all next week, with an increased police presence, following an incident on Thursday that sent the school into lockdown on Friday.

Sichting's press release states the lockdown will continue when students return to school on Monday, Jan. 28 and remain in place through Friday, Feb. 1.

Sichting said additional information was received Friday afternoon concerning the individual attempting to gain entrance into Bloomfield School District facilities on Thursday.

"Due to this information, Bloomfield School District will continue with increased police presence and police patrols near the school and park," said Sichting.

"Please do not contact local law enforcement seeking additional information, as law enforcement officials continue to work an active case.

"I want to repeat, no specific credible threat has been identified to any individual student or groups of Bloomfield School District students at this point."

Earlier in the day Friday, a juvenile was in custody and the school on lockdown for the day, due to suspicious activity that took place around the school Thursday afternoon.

Sichting said at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday, junior/senior high school principal David Dean located an individual trying to gain access to the school.

He was unable to access the interior of the school because the doors are always locked during the school day.

The suspect, a male juvenile whose name is not being released due to his age, claimed to be an 18-year-old looking to enroll in the school. He also claimed to be working with local law enforcement.

The individual walked away from the school after being unable to gain entry, paused outside the window of a math class on West Spring Street and peered in the window for an extended period of time.

At this point, the teacher informed administration of the suspicious person outside the classroom.

After walking from the window of the math class, the suspect walked to the corner of Spring and Cleveland Streets. The suspect then made his way around the school, onto John Street, just east of the school.

"A teacher on his way to an appointment, who lives on John Street, was coming out of his house and struck up a conversation with the individual. He (the suspect) said he was looking for a 14 or 15-year-old student, and used her first name. He also used information about her that not just anyone would know, like where her father was employed," Sichting explained.

Sichting added the individual indicated he was working undercover with the local police department.

"The individual was carrying handcuffs. No weapon was visible to the staff member," Sichting noted.

The interaction with the teacher took place at approximately 2:15 p.m., and the teacher contacted Dean around 3:10 p.m. to report the conversation.

Dean immediately contacted the Greene County Sheriff's Department.

Once the student who the suspect was allegedly searching for was identified, Dean contacted the student's parent. The mother called back around 6:30 p.m.

"The same (suspect) individual -- at the end of school -- went to the park and made contact with the female student. The contact was brief, and her parent was there to pick her up," Sichting added.

Bloomfield Town Marshal Kenneth Tharp said officers continued to receive tips regarding the individual, and he was detained by officers around 11 p.m. Thursday.

"The officers were following leads as we got them. We eventually located him (the suspect) at an apartment here in town. He was detained, interviewed at the (Greene County) Jail and released to his mother," Tharp said.

He added there was no threat to the school or student identified by the suspect.

"It just made people uneasy," Tharp said.

Sichting stressed the school's safety procedures and the staff's attention to detail helped to prevent a tragedy.

"The individual never had access to our building. He was on the exterior ... In the environment we live in today, vigilance is a key component to safety, and I have made sure to highlight this to the staff. They have to have attention to detail because the details may be able to help avoid a tragedy," Sichting stressed.

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This is unreal to me! He was there at 1pm but, our children were dismissed and sent outside!!! At that time he was still in the school area and seen by petro plus! I got a school reach call at 8:30 last night! My child and several others walk home from school!! I'm not at all happy with how this was handled! These are our children people!!!

-- Posted by K'sMomma on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 9:06 AM
Response by Nick Schneider:
The student was at the school at 1 p.m. and officials thought he wanted to enroll. It was not until 3:10 p.m. that officials realized the situation was much more serious -- and students had already been released from school, according to Supt. Dan Sichting. This story will be updated with more details, so please temper your comments until you know more of the facts about what happened.

READ the whole story K'sMomma!!!

-- Posted by goblue on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 1:45 PM

I just got done reading the whole story and from what I understand the guy was outside the school at 1 o'clock, walked away then peered into a window for an extended period of time, and a teacher informed the administration of the suspicious person. Right so far? THEN at 2:15 he was seen with handcuffs, acting like an undercover police officer, and asking about a student . So this was BEFORE school was released. So, there's a weirdo staring into a classroom full of kids, pretending to be a cop, carrying handcuffs, and all of this was noticed BEFORE school was let out. But kids were dismissed as normal and parents weren't notified until 8:30 last night. I'm with K'sMomma. I do NOT agree with how this was handled. With all the crap going on in this world the cops should have been notified immediately! Why take the chance on something bad happening? Better safe than sorry, right? Now, did I miss anything? Because I'm pretty sure all the information I just put in this comment came directly from the article I just read. I'm not blaming anyone but next time there's a "suspicious person" standing outside staring into the school you should notify the cops ASAP. This person made contact with a student! What if it was more than just an 18 year old kid looking for someone? If he had been, he could have taken off with a child or hurt someone! This could have been handled differently. Parents should feel safe (atleast somewhat) about sending their children to school. After this situation and the way it was handled, I don't anymore.

-- Posted by Smalltowngirl87 on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 3:01 PM

So the teacher had a conversation with the suspect at 2:15, but didn't contact the school until 3:10? Very irresponsible!

-- Posted by Thought 4 today on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 3:14 PM

Why wasn't the girls parents notified prior to school being dismissed? why wasn't she escorted out to her parents vehicle? I am glad I haven't got a student in that school, if I did, I imagine they wouldn't be any longer!

-- Posted by lillymae on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 4:12 PM

To goblue: I actually read the story at 9:45 am before it was updated! Now that I have read the updated article I can honestly say,, I feel no differently!!!

-- Posted by K'sMomma on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 4:33 PM

Ok tell me if I am wrong. Mr Sichting says "He added there was no threat to the school or student identified by the suspect." But then he says the school's safety procedures and the staff's attention to detail helped to prevent a tragedy. I thought there wasnt a threat. What am I missing something. which way was it?

-- Posted by wanda.hampton on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 5:35 PM

The school board should be brought in on this one!!! seriously! K'smomma, I totally agree!

-- Posted by lillymae on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 5:47 PM

I have a child in Kindergarten there and almost didn't send him to school today. I got a call around 7:20 saying the man was arrested and in jail. But then find out he was released to his mother last night. If I had know my child would have been home with me for the day. I am so thankful nothing did happen. But like many have said something could have happened. You never know about people you can't trust anyone. The cops should have been notified immediately!!! The weirdo could have kidnapped that girl or any child for that matter. And if the things I am hearing are correct he shouldn't be on the streets at all!!! He never should have been released period. I hope if god forbid anything like this happens again it is taken care of differently!

-- Posted by AMyers8289 on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 6:46 PM

I agree with Bluetick_Hunter. I would not want to be in either of their shoes.

I tend to be very supportive of the school. For the resources that they have to work with, I think that they do a pretty good job.

But the message that came out tonight was unsatisfactory as far as I am concerned. If there is something going on that necessitates a full week of external lockdown next week, then parents should be informed as to what that is, so that they can make the determination as to if they think that the threat is "credible", and can then make a decision about if they feel it's safe to have their child attend school or not.

-- Posted by just sayin'... on Sat, Jan 26, 2013, at 1:13 AM

If the boy is underage why isn't he in school somewhere? If he's old enough to quit school he's old enough to have his name released. He sure caused a lot of trouble over trying to see a girl. He doesn't sound real intelligent. He probably needs to be in school

-- Posted by didlivethere on Sat, Jan 26, 2013, at 11:24 AM

There is a rumor on facebook that the suspect had a gun. I hope it is just a rumor. I like Bloomfield School, but if I find out that they are not being truthful with me, I'm out of there.

-- Posted by peaceambassador on Sat, Jan 26, 2013, at 12:45 PM

I have known Dave Dean my whole life and i like him, he is a nice person.. But, he is not the boss!! There are people above his position.. This last school reach message made me sick to my stomach! Im not sure what to do.. I would consider home schooling my child if she wasn't so involved with everything and enjoy school so much! I love our school for the most part. This is just a scary situation and what good parent wouldn't be scared? I feel like we are being fibbed to!

-- Posted by K'sMomma on Sun, Jan 27, 2013, at 9:27 AM

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