Ohio schools close over video threatening American students


ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — An anonymous video threatening the safety of “American students” posted to a location-based social media app group connected to Ohio University prompted heightened security on the campus and closed six area school districts Friday.

Investigators shared an image from the video that shows a hand holding a gun and the words: “Tomorrow American students will die. Some of u are ok. Don’t go to school tomorrow.”

Officials say it was posted on Yeti through a group that lets users affiliate with the southeast Ohio university’s main campus in Athens.

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.

The FBI says it’s coordinating with law enforcement evaluating the threat.

Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith told The Athens Messenger that his office learned early Friday about a general threat produced around Athens and made toward American students. The threat was found at around 5 a.m., but he didn’t say how.

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.”

The Ohio Department of Education was monitoring the situation as the closed school districts worked with local law enforcement, department spokeswoman Brittany Halpin said.

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