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Published: Wednesday, 4/27/2005

Maumee High attendance cut by threat, but day uneventful

About half the students at Maumee High School stayed home yesterday due to a vague threat scribbled on a restroom wall at the school, but police said there was no suspicious activity during the school day.

School administrators and Maumee police are investigating the graffiti, which was lightly penciled on the wall of a girls' restroom and discovered last week. The writing included the words "Maumee High School shooting," yesterday's date, a drawing of a gun, and a reference to a gang called the Bloods.

Because of the graffiti, police posted extra officers on and around the school campus.

"The day was uneventful," Sgt. Gayle Lohrbach said. "We will maintain increased security until the school administrators feel more comfortable."

The police department will incorporate patrols through the high school parking lot into their daily routine and may keep extra officers in the building in addition to the regular school resource officer, authorities said.

The school agreed to excuse any student who stayed home because of concern about the graffiti. School officials said 470 out of the high school's 950 students were absent yesterday.

Principal Larry Caffro said he responded to calls from roughly a dozen parents about safety concerns.

"We're going to continue to have our school resource officer on site and an administrative presence in the school as we usually do," he said. "We're working with our students to find out any information on the graffiti we can garner."

Authorities said they have gotten a few tips about who drew the graffiti, but they have no solid leads or suspects. Whoever wrote the threat could be prosecuted for aggravated menacing.

Mr. Caffro said the gang reference on the restroom wall is the first indication of gangs he has seen. "We've not had any gang clothing or gang symbols," he said. "This is very unusual for our school."

Sergeant Lohrbach said the police department has been on the lookout for signs of gangs in Maumee, but has not found cause for concern.

"We do not feel there is any significant gang activity at all in Maumee schools," the sergeant said.

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