Threats Against Local Students Made Via Instant Messenger

AVON LAKE, Ohio – School district officials in Avon Lake and the local police department are dealing with a hit list sent via instant messenger from a computer at Learwood Middle School, Action News' Harry Boomer reported.

Authorities are taking the threats made in the message very seriously, and they're talking to the school's Internet service provider to try to find out who sent the hit list.

The list, which included some of the names of Learwood Middle School students, was discovered Wednesday and reported immediately to the Avon Lake Police Department.

"What we have is a computer-generated message that indicated other students' names that this person was upset at," Avon Lake Police Chief David Owed said. "We're in the process of determining from where it originated."

Police have increased its presence at the school, where 525 seventh- and eighth-graders attend classes.

Avon Lake resident Joan Roberts said that she has a son who attends Learwood, but she didn't know if his name was on the list or not. In fact, neither she nor any of the other parents with whom Action News talked even knew that the list existed.

"I had no idea," Roberts said. "I had no idea whatsoever.

"It bothers me that I was not made aware. I would have liked to know what was going on. I mean this is kind of serious."

"I hope that with the tracking systems that they have nowadays, they can find the person and find out what it was all about," school neighbor Chip Brausch said. "It's scary."

Authorities said that the message did not mention Learwood Middle School by name, but the hit list did contain the names of some of its students.