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LH deals with ‘hit list,’ staph infection |

LH deals with ‘hit list,’ staph infection

| Friday, October 19, 2007 12:00 a.m

A pair of scary incidents, including a student hit list and a staph infection, dominated conversation Thursday at the Laurel Highlands School District board meeting.

“There were a couple of issues this week,” Superintendent Ronald Sheba said.

The first incident Sheba mentioned occurred Tuesday evening when the parent of a student alerted school administrators that an on-line chat between two students contained a “hit list” of students and school employees.

The investigating officer, Trooper James Pierce, said the accused student, a ninth grader, indicated online that he intended to kill the individuals who were on the list.

There was a state police presence on school grounds Wednesday and the parents of the individuals on the list were contacted. Five of the targeted students did not attend school.

The student told the police he was joking and police deemed the threat as “non-credible” because there were no weapons or explosive devices found at the student’s house or locker.

Sheba said the school district took action against the student who made the threat nonetheless.

The student was charged with terroristic threats, criminal use of a communication facility, harassment and disorderly conduct at the Fayette County Juvenile Probation Office yesterday.

“I’m proud of the parents and the student who reported this threat to us,” Sheba said. He also thanked the state police for their quick response. “I’ll tell you that they are my heroes.”

As a father and grandfather, Sheba pleaded with parents to be vigilant about what their children are doing online.

Another scare this week occurred Monday evening when the high school nurse verified two students had tested positive for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria that causes a staph infection.

Prior to the school becoming aware of the situation, the two students were treated and have since tested negative for MRSA.

Sheba said the administration immediately called the state Department of Health and the high school was scrubbed that night as a precautionary measure. Sheba assured parents the custodians use chemicals that kill the bacteria that causes staph infections.

Like with the hit-list incident, Sheba said the best way to help protect students is having parents contact the school if they suspect something is wrong, whether it be a health or a violence issue.

“We can’t deal with it unless we know about it,” Sheba said.

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