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York County law enforcement forms task force in response to threats of school violence

SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Nearly a dozen threats made against central Pennsylvania schools in the week following a deadly school shooting in Florida, have administrators and police asking for help.

The Central York School District in York County alone, has been the target of three threats this week.

The Springettsbury Township police chief said it’s a lot to handle, so they’re asking for back up.

It’s not a holiday, but a threat of violence that closed Central York School District, Wednesday, making it no ordinary day at the park for parents out with their kids.

Parent Cathy Clark said “it is very frustrating. It’s definitely an intrusion on how we live our life, and just day to day activities that we have to cancel, or think twice about, even coming to the park you think twice about.”

Monday, a Central York High School student overheard another tell someone not to come to school the next day. The student reported the incident, while work spreads on social media.

Tuesday morning, a social media post recognizes the increased police presence at the high school, but also targets elementary and middle schools in the district.

Later Tuesday morning, another post threatens violence in the district to last all week.

Central York School District superintendent Dr. Michael Snell said “it takes the entire community to keep us all safe, and I’m terribly proud of the efforts of everybody in the Central York community to help us work through this difficult situation.”

Keeping up with these multiple reports, and numerous tips, has taken its toll on police.

Springettsbury Township Police Chief Dan Stump said “with a department our size, when we’re sending officers out, and to protect our schools, and we have them there, and then we’re deploying all of our detectives, it’s easy to run out of resources real quick.”

The strain was so much that Springettsbury Township Police needed to create a task force.

“It includes members of the district attorney's office, York County detectives, Northern York Regional has given us several detectives as well as a federal agency,” Stump said.

“Social media postings, and going from person to person, was growing at a rate that was hard to keep up with. We are tracking them down, every single one we could,” Stump added.

While the task force puts more officers on the case, police believe the community is also an important part of that team.

“We want more help in determining this person, and we know somebody out there knows who it is,” Stump said.

Police take each threat seriously, but whether it turns out to be credible or not, it’s still a difficult time for parents and students.

“It’s unfortunate that the youth have to have this be a reality for them, we’re having difficult conversations that we’re not really always prepared to have,” Clark said.