WELLSBURG - Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said his department is investigating a handwritten threat that led to the evacuation of Brooke High School today.
Jackson said he wouldn't comment on the specifics of the threat while the investigation is ongoing, saying only that it was "a general threat of death."
He said additional security measures would be implemented by school officials and his department when students return to school Wednesday but said he couldn't comment further on them.
Rob Robinson, Brooke County Schools' facilities supervisor, said a search of the school, following the evacuation, found nothing.
He, Jackson, Principal Toni Shute and other school officials met in the school's main office after the dismissal to discuss the matter, and custodians remained to perform their usual duties.
Robinson said the threat was discovered at about 11 a.m. and reported immediately by Shute and Brooke County Sheriff's Deputy John White, the school's prevention resource officer, to school board officials and the sheriff's department.
Robinson said in light of the recent incidents in Boston and Robinson Township, Pa., Shute suggested evacuating the school as a precaution, a move that was supported by school board officials.
He said students in the school's preschool program were dismissed beginning at about 12:30 p.m., followed by the high school students at about 12:45 p.m. and finally, staff.
Robinson said students were told they were being dismissed early because of concerns for their safety.
He said parents were alerted, through the school district's automated calling system, that they could pick up their children if they wanted but the students would leave by bus if parents didn't arrive by 12:45 p.m.
Robinson said he was pleased with the response of school staff.
"It was a very organized dismissal in a short amount of time," Robinson said.
Jackson agreed, saying, "Everything went very smoothly. I can't commend enough the board of education, transportation director and other officials for their coordination."
Robinson said an evacuation drill held at Jefferson Primary School at about 10 a.m. Tuesday had been scheduled previously and wasn't related.