Two 15-year-old Sheffield Area Middle-High School students have been charged by Warren-based state police with disorderly conduct in connection with rumors spread through the school on Thursday.
State police said the students, one from Clarendon and one from Tiona, engaged in a course of threatening behavior by coercing other students into wearing blue shirts out of fear of harm for not complying, resulting in public harm.
Non-traffic citations for disorderly conduct were filed with the district justice office.
Parents of students at Sheffield Middle/High School received a phone blast around 5 p.m. on Thursday informing them that school officials had learned of a rumor circulating at the school that day concerning a possible violent incident at the school on Friday.
School officials, in conjunction with local law enforcement, said they had taken measures to ensure that all students were safe at the school on Friday.
Parents reported that a Sheffield Township police officer was at the school on Friday morning.
According to District Attorney Rob Greene, the rumors at Sheffield High School began when a student stated that students should wear the color blue tomorrow (Friday) so they "don't get hurt".
"This progressed throughout the day (Thursday), the rumor got bigger and more graphic, as rumors do. The student has been interviewed by law enforcement and the investigation is continuing; however I can say with confidence that there is no credible threat to any of the students or staff," Greene said.
Meanwhile on Friday, the Warren County School District conducted a planned district-wide lockdown drill. Students were restricted to their classrooms and mobile devices were collected and then returned to students when the drill was completed. The drill took place at different times at different schools. Warren Area High School and Eisenhower Middle-High School undertook their lockdown drills at about 10:15 a.m., followed by Beaty-Warren Middle School at about 11:30 a.m.
During the drills Pennsylvania State Police and the Narcotic Detector Dogs conducted searches of Eisenhower, Beaty, and WAHS.
The search was arranged in advance between state police and district officials, according to Superintendent Dr. William Clark.
The searches began at approximately 10 a.m. and lasted until approximately 12:12 p.m.
All interior locker areas and designated areas within each building were searched while students remained in classrooms. Central office administrators and building principals accompanied canine handlers from the Pennsylvania State Police throughout the search of each building.
When asked if any contraband was located, Clark said, "none was found."