Police: Threat prompts evacuation at Coatesville Area Senior High School

Officials with the Coatesville Area School District say the Senior High School was evacuated after the safety of its students and staff were at risk following a threat that was made on Monday. 

Just after 8:30 a.m., officials with the district say they received a message indicating that an accelerant was placed in the Senior High School and that it would be ignited at noon. 

The Coatesville Area Senior High School and the Intermediate High School were placed on restrictive movement until local authorities decided to conduct a search using accelerant-detecting K9s, causing nearly 1,500 students to be evacuated. 

The Chester County Assistant Fire Marshall says that 1,400 students and 120 staff members were relocated to the football stadium as all backpacks remained inside the building to get swept by the K9s. As students and staff waited at the stadium, officials say another message was received indicating that there were weapons on campus. 

After about an hour in the stadium, officials say a series of fights broke out between different groups of students, resulting in a county-wide request for assistance. Authorities say parents were also causing disturbances as they tried to gain access to the campus while it was locked down. 

Thirty-seven police departments, including the Pennsylvania State Police, responded to assist the large crowd of students, staff, and parents. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported, but authorities say several students were detained and later released. 


No accelerant or weapons were discovered in either school, according to officials. Law enforcement officials monitored the bus stops and all school exits as students were dismissed.

The district announced that it has canceled all classes at both buildings on Tuesday as the FBI investigates the source of the threats, which has resulted in multiple disruptions at the district's schools in the past three months. 

On October 13, the district says they were put on lockdown after three separate threats regarding weapons were received by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and then passed on to the school.

The next day, on October 14, officials with the district say they were forced to cancel classes after another threat was made. These threats came after the school had canceled their homecoming football game the week before due to online threats against the school.

Officials with the district, local and state law enforcement officials, and the FBI are actively investigating the source of the series of threats.