LEAVITTSBURG - LaBrae High School principal Rocco Adduci said he is pleased with the way staff and law enforcement secured the facility and took three intruders into custody so quickly after they entered the building without authorization last week.
"We have a system in place to handle situations like this," he said. "Although it's very rare for something like this to happen, it's good to know the system worked. Within minutes, we had the situation in hand, under control. The school day hadn't even started yet and we had them in hand."
Charges range from criminal trespass to underage drinking.
According to reports, Billy R. Morrow Jr., 21, of Chicago, Kurt L. Pitcher, 25, of Mayfield, and a 16-year-old home-schooled student who lives outside the school district entered the building just before classes started on Thursday. They were with a 16-year-old LaBrae student.
Morrow and Pitcher appeared in Warren Municipal Court on Friday, where they both pleaded not guilty to criminal trespass charges. Both were given $5,000 personal recognizance bonds. The two 16-year-olds are facing juvenile criminal charges.
After detaining the intruders, officials found a bottle of liquor in one of their backpacks.
Adduci said the school district is always working to improve its security system. However, he said he believes the situation was handled the best that it could have been, and that the safety of students and staff was never compromised.
"The most vulnerable time is when students are coming or going, in the morning and afternoon," he said. "But these guys were spotted right away, almost immediately after they entered the building. It was all resolved quickly."
Adduci said he cannot comment on the police investigation. Also, he said he is not at liberty to discuss the district's security plan, but officials are considering ways to make improvements to its system by reviewing its video surveillance and looking at whether to increase manpower at each door at the start of school and at dismissal.