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Non-credible threat impacts Silver Creek

Deputy Wes Johnson, Silver Creek's School Resource Officer, was in contact throughout the night Wednesday through Thursday morning with district officials, families, and the complainant of a threatening phone call claiming a school shooting would occur on Thursday.

SILVER CREEK — A non-credible threat of incredible significance impacted the Silver Creek Central School District on Thursday.

Around 11 p.m. Wednesday, a Silver Creek student received an anonymous phone call claiming a school shooting would occur on Thursday. That student then called the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department, who then notified the district.

Throughout Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the school’s Resource Officer, Deputy Wes Johnson, was in contact with his superior, as well as Silver Creek High School Principal Kyle Yelich and Superintendent Todd Crandall.

Johnson spoke with the complainant late Wednesday night “for probably half an hour,” he said. “She seemed very sincere, she seemed very concerned.”

The student who claimed to have received the phone call is part of the Silver Creek district, but does not attend the school on a day-to-day basis. The student regularly attends BOCES, which was also notified of the threat and increased police presence on Thursday. The student claimed no specific school was named in the threatening phone call.

“Because there was no school mentioned … we were sort of up in the air as to which school they were talking about,” Johnson said.

The student who reported the call to the authorities claimed other students also received threatening phone calls about the alleged incident. School officials and law enforcement contacted the families of each student named by the complainant, but in every case, the student and/or their family claimed they were not contacted.

“I was told that they never received phone calls. They received correspondence from the actual complainant,” Johnson said.

The complainant also later revealed they received multiple other phone calls, believed to be pranks, throughout that night. That information was not initially shared with law enforcement or the district.

School officials and law enforcement searched various social media platforms throughout the night and the early morning, but found no mention of plans of a school shooting. Police also surveyed the school grounds throughout the night and found nothing suspicious.

“We also spoke with a Sergeant this morning, a different supervisor, on the way to work. I think it’s important that we had layers of people double-checking each other’s work, so to speak,” Crandall said.

Because nothing was found to corroborate the claims, the district and law enforcement both agreed with moving forward with school on Thursday morning, with an increased presence from the Sheriff’s Department. Three additional officers joined Deputy Johnson so that two officers were posted at each entrance of the building.

“I told (my Lieutenant) I wasn’t sure that this was a legitimate incident, or that it a legitimate fear for us, but we were going to treat it as such until the morning,” Johnson said.

“I do want to thank the Sheriff’s Department. If anything, we pushed them back, because we didn’t want to alarm – there was no reason to alarm. But they said to take it serious, until we don’t,” Crandall said.

The district did not initially share the potential threat with parents and members of the community in hopes of avoiding unnecessary panic, because the threat was deemed non-credible.

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