Update: School, Students Searched After Threats

UPDATE 3:45 p.m. : A Scranton Prep student turned himself in to authorities Tuesday afternoon after he allegedly threatened to blow up two schools in internet posts.

Torre Scrimalli, 18, of Scranton faces two charges of making terroristic threats.

THROOP — Students at two high schools in Lackawanna County passed through security checkpoints Tuesday morning after reported threats.

Police in Lackawanna County said charges could come later Tuesday. They believe they know who posted an on-line threat that led to increased security at two high schools.

Students at Mid Valley High School in Throop began their day with everyone checked, every bag searched.

The reason: someone tweeted a threat Monday night, discovered during Mid Valley’s basketball game with Holy Cross.

The gym was cleared out, 900 people forced to leave.  The game was suspended.

Police said dogs searched Mid Valley High School early Tuesday.  Nothing was found.  The student searches followed.

Students said they realized it was all for their safety.

“I understand it.  It’s fair enough.  If someone is going to threaten the school, you have to be precautious,” said student Richard Harris.

The police chief in Throop said students and their parents shouldn’t worry.

“Nothing to fear, nothing to fear,” said Chief Keith Jones. “We’re going to provide the safest environment possible and we’re not going to jeopardize anyone’s health or wellbeing at any time.”

Eighth grader Jessie Kasper had no problem with the school’s decision to check every student.

“You don’t know people these days.  They could have a bomb.  They could have a gun.  I think it’s a good idea just to be safe.”

The check-in process Tuesday was a long one.  The line of students waiting to get in stretched down the side of the building.

But the only complaints heard were about the time it took to do the search.   Some didn’t like being stuck in the cold and the snow.

“We’re taking every precaution we can to keep their kids safe and this part of trying to keep the school safe,” said Superintendent Randy Parry.  “It’s just one other step we’re doing for security.”

Parry said school security in this post-Newtown age, and at a time when threats and rumors fly through the internet, is “very difficult.”

A man dropping off his granddaughter understands the challenges faced by administrators.

“I trust the school.  Everything I’ve seen about Mid Valley leads me to believe they have this under control,” said Dennis Dziemianowicz.

Holy Cross High School in Dunmore was also searched by dogs early Tuesday morning.  Nothing was found.  The administration says it addressed the security issue over the public address system.  There were no student searches at Holy Cross.