ATHENS, Ohio (AP) – Six southeast Ohio school districts canceled Friday classes because of an unspecified threat that authorities said originated in the Athens area and was made against students.
Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith tells The Athens Messenger his office learned early Friday about a general threat produced around Athens and made toward American students. He said the threat was found around 5 a.m., but he didn’t say where or how.
He said local school officials were notified as the validity of the threat is investigated. The FBI is helping, Smith said.
The districts that closed are Athens City, Nelsonville-York Local, Federal Hocking, Trimble Local, Alexander Local and Tri-County schools. Those largely rural districts have a total of more than 8,000 students, based on enrollment data provided to the state for last year.
In an audio message sent to parents, Athens schools Superintendent Tom Gibbs said his district decided to close given the “short time frame to respond to the threat.”
Ohio University’s main campus in Athens remained open as officials there worked with law enforcement to evaluate the threat, university spokeswoman Katie Quaranta told The Associated Press in an email. She said the week of final exams was wrapping up and weekend commencement ceremonies for thousands of graduates were proceeding as scheduled.