Troy, Newton officials quell security fears

Multiple threat investigations ruled “not credible”

By Cody Willoughby -

MIAMI COUNTY — With concerns mounting over possible security threats in the Troy City and Newton Local School Districts, law enforcement and school board officials have unanimously ruled out credibility of any current threats.

Troy City Schools Superintendent Eric Herman acknowledged that despite an ongoing investigation, concerns at this juncture aren’t warranted.

“The police department is currently investigating the matter, but we haven’t received any credible threats at this point,” Herman said. “For now, it’s all rumors and hearsay.”

“We had a possible threat this morning, but we didn’t find it credible,” said Captain Jeff Kunkleman of Troy Police Department, who said that safety has always been a chief concern within the district.

“We work with the schools on a year-round basis. Here in Troy, we have three school resource officers (SROs) assigned to the schools, and we’re constantly working to upgrade all of their safety precautions.

“Each school has a safety plan filed with the state. We’re constantly training and reviewing. We feel that we have good precautions in place across the district at this time,” Kunkleman said.

An incident in the Newton Local Schools District was similarly quashed.

“It’s a fairly simple situation,” explained Newton Superintendent Pat McBride. “We had one student who made a remark in a class while doing schoolwork, which he thought might be funny. It came down to the fact that he simply spoke without thinking. It wasn’t a credible threat, but it was an inappropriate, off-the-cuff remark out of line with current events in the nation. “

McBride acknowledged that while matters of safety should always be taken seriously, it’s easy for high tension to make a situation seem worse.

“There’s definitely a heightened awareness right now,” McBride said. “We want to send a clear message in this district that anytime you make a remark that implies harm against others, it’s no joke. We’re being careful not to minimalize that. At the same time, it’s important that every situation isn’t blown out of proportion.”

The Newton student in question is receiving appropriate disciplinary action.

“It’s not something we’re taking lightly,” McBride said. “He’ll have to jump through some hoops to get back into good graces. We have the advantage in this district of being able to develop relationships with our students. All the kids are at one location, and we have them from kindergarten onward, so it gives the staff a chance to build a lot of familiarity.”

McBride, who recently addressed school security at the February Newton board meeting, expressed his confidence in the measures the district is taking to keep students and faculty safe.

“We’re the only school our size in the area with a full-time SRO on staff,” McBride said. “I’ve recently met with leaders of other districts on their measures of security, and the board is considering all options possible to keep people safe. It’s not something our district will sit back and watch — our priority is to take action.”

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Multiple threat investigations ruled “not credible”

By Cody Willoughby