Schools Locked Down Over "Ambiguous Message" Taken as Threat

Via: Times Online

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013 

AMBRIDGE — Beaver County schools had their lives “flipped, turned upside down” Thursday morning when a phone greeting involving the theme song from the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was taken as a threat.

All schools in the county were advised to lock down for about 20 minutes while police searched for a 19-year-old Ambridge Area High School student whose greeting to callers was mistakenly taken as a threat about “shooting people outside of the school.”

The actual line from the song is “And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school.” Because it is a bit garbled, it is unclear from listening to Travis Clawson’s phone message whether he inadvertently twisted the words or it just was misheard by the receptionist from his Sewickley eye doctor’s office who sent the day’s events in motion.

The receptionist called the Economy man’s phone to remind him about an upcoming appointment, but Clawson did not pick up and she was sent to voice mail, where his greeting caused her to call Sewickley police, who then contacted Ambridge school officials.

When Ambridge passed the information along to local police, a countywide schools lockdown was advised because no one knew where Clawson was, and the 911 response system is designed to notify all schools of a situation.

Economy police finally made contact with Clawson late morning and discovered he was “chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool” in the guidance office of Ambridge’s high school, which then was swarmed by officers who took him into custody.

James Mann, acting police chief in Ambridge, said Clawson was interviewed by police and he told them he meant no harm and that his message was just him imitating Will Smith’s rap intro to the show that ran on NBC from 1990-96 and now is rerun on ABC Family. All six seasons also are out on DVD.

District Attorney Anthony Berosh said it was determined after listening to the message closely that it did follow the Quincy Jones-penned song and Clawson was released.

Read more: here

The Police Chief said, “I believe everyone acted appropriately. Our first concern is the safety of kids.”     Insanity…What is the world coming to? 
-Moose

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