Central York schools to close again Thursday after threats

Springettsbury Township Police Chief Daniel Stump, along with District Attorney Dave Sunday, right, and Central York School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Snell, not shown, holds a press update on threats of violence that led to the District closing schools Wednesday, February 21, 2018.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Central York schools will be closed on Thursday, Feb. 22, based on a recommendation from Springettsbury Township Police Chief Daniel Stump.

Stump announced his recommendation at an 8 p.m. news conference at the township police department on Wednesday, and Central York superintendent Michael Snell said he would close schools based on that recommendation.

"To all the parents out there, it's your kids we care about. It's their safety," Stump said. "We don't want to put them at risk."

Police are asking the public to continue sharing information with police, no matter how minor, Stump said. 

"We are taking this very seriously," he said. "We are following every single lead."

Stump says police are now offering up to a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the offender. 

Snell said that the school district has worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the past when the district has dealt with more than 10 snow days, and the district is able to keep school open through June 30 if necessary.

As of now, any missing days will be added to the end of the school year, he said.

Previous: York County law enforcement officials are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspects who they say made threats that prompted the closing of Central York School District on Wednesday.

Stump, flanked by Snell and York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, said during a news conference earlier Wednesday, Feb. 21, that investigators are still trying to identify the suspect or suspects.

The latest threats, he said, prompted the department to create a task force of local and federal agencies. 

"This is a grand scale event," he said.

Stump said an initial perceived threat had started Monday, Feb. 19, when a Central York High School student overheard another student say "don't come to school tomorrow." 

That then spread on social media, he said, but investigators soon determined that the threat was unsubstantiated. Because of the initial threat, there was an increased police presence at all Central York schools, according to the chief.

Police were made aware of two additional threats made later Tuesday, Feb. 20, on social media, this time prompting a larger response because of how specific the threat was, according to the chief.

More:Classes at Central York schools canceled Wednesday amid threat investigation

"It was very direct to our schools and what (the police) were doing," he said. The chief also said the threat involved armed violence

Stump said the department is being assisted by Northern York County Regional Police, the DA's office, York County detectives and a federal agency. He declined to specify which federal agency but said it was called in because of how large the threat is.

"We need the added help," he said.

Stump asked parents to communicate with their children.

"We need you to talk to them and find out what's going on," he said.

The chief said officials have not found any evidence to suggest the first threat is connected to the latest ones. 

Anyone with tips can call 911 and ask for Springettsbury Township Police.

An additional news conference is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Dover: In addition to Central York School District, Dover Area School District received calls regarding an alleged threat on social media Tuesday, according to Northern York County Regional Police.

A message posted on social media indicated the person making the threats at Central York was going to come to Dover, according to officials.

The department said Wednesday that officials tracked the threat to the source and determined no threat exists. The department will have increased staffing and additional officers patrol the schools Wednesday, police said.

Background: The first threat Tuesday prompted increased police presence and the cancellation of all after-school activities in Central York. At the request of Stump, the district closed Wednesday. 

The Central York vs Dallastown playoff basketball game was postponed to Wednesday as well. It will be played at 7 p.m. at Red Lion High School.

Check back later for updates.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser