Columbian calm despite threat

Monday was a quiet day at Tiffin Columbian High School despite a threat made by a student during class last week, Principal Mark Verocco said.

Verocco said the student was suspended.

“The student is to remain suspended until further notice,” he said.

Verocco said he has been in meetings with the administration and staff to determine what steps are to be taken.

He said he, other administrators and the Tiffin Police made a home visit with the student and his family.

“We have had good communication and cooperation from the family,” he said.

Verocco said Monday he walked the halls and talked with the students.

“The students remained positive and felt safe,” he said.

Officers were in the area during lunch and after school, Verocco said, and Probation Officer Jim Jarrett remained in the building.

Verocco said attendance was down Monday.

“Typically, on average, we have two seats open, but today we had an average of three seats open per classroom,” he said.

Columbian has 863 students. Verocco said about 110 students were absent, with 49 missing due to safety concerns.

“Every day is a safety day at Columbian,” Verocco said. “We have to work as a team.”

He said the student has been attending Columbian for two years and has had previous disciplinary action against him.

“He is continuing to get better and has been making great progress,” he said.

Verocco said the threat was made out of frustration with the boy’s relationships with other students.

“He made a mistake,” Verocco said. “When he gets upset, he typically comes down to the office and we work with him to calm down.”

Verocco said social media was blowing up over the incident Sunday. He said his phone began ringing at 11 a.m. and didn’t stop until 11 p.m.

“Parents were very worried about the safety of their students and we completely understand their concern,” Verocco said.

He made an address at the beginning of the day Monday cautioning about the use of social media and what students see and hear.

“There were several comments made that were correct, but some that were not,” he said.

Verocco said there is to be a court hearing involving the student at Seneca County Juvenile Court this morning.

“We have a tremendous teaching staff,” he said. “We take safety seriously at Columbian every day. We work through problems and stick together. Parents are always encouraged to call any time. They are our eyes and ears.”

“We just want people to be cautious by what they put on social media,” Verocco said. “If it is not the complete facts, it can cause anxiety.

“I feel we take the appropriate precautionary measures and feel we have a safe school here at Columbian. We want to do what is best for the school and the student body.”