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Security ramped up at Countryside High on anniversary of Columbine

CLEARWATER — Extra Clearwater police officers were at Countryside High on Monday and will return today, the 11th anniversary of the Columbine High massacre.

"We will be on heightened awareness tomorrow with the anniversary," Clearwater spokeswoman Joelle Castelli said Monday evening.

"Just as a precautionary measure," Pinellas County School District spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said.

Castelli and Zahn did not explain why Countryside, which sits on the corner of McMullen-Booth Road and State Road 580, had been singled out.

They said they did not know whether additional resources would be dispatched to other county schools.

It's been nearly three years since a 15-year-old Countryside student threatened his classmates on the Internet. Peers said the Safety Harbor boy, who was never identified, was obsessed with Columbine. He was removed from the school in October 2007.

In the years since that incident, district officials have not had to summon additional officers to the school on the anniversary of Columbine.

Asked whether the former student had made new threats, Castelli said she was "not releasing that."

She said Clearwater police officers met with campus officers on Monday.

Officials at the school did not return e-mail messages from a St. Petersburg Times reporter. Someone who answered the phone at the school referred all questions to Zahn.

"Today," Zahn said, "they just locked exterior doors. They were not in a lockdown."

Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

Security ramped up at Countryside High on anniversary of Columbine 04/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12:11am]
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