Meigs Co. Schools Back Open After Lockdown

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Buildings placed on lockdown in the Meigs Local Schools district are expected to open as usual Thursday morning.

Police and district officials shut them down Wednesday afternoon after they say a man in Rutland, Ohio, threatened to shoot his wife and five children who attend Meigs Local Schools.

A sign placed on the door of one of the buildings Wednesday read, “By order of the sheriff, the building is closed this evening.”

Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood said Lester Aeiker of Rutland, was taken into custody at his house, not at the school, Wednesday afternoon.

“A scary situation for all of us to see something like that happen,” Wood said of the incident. “As a parent – I’m a parent – you just don't want to see those things happen anywhere.”

Wood said deciding to lock down the district’s schools was a gut instinct in order to keep faculty, students and staff safe in case Aeiker were to show up armed. He said police in Middleport received a phone call just after 2 p.m. from the father of Aeiker’s wife, letting them know what was going on. Officers headed to the schools, hoping to run into Aeiker if he went to pick up his children.

“I don’t think that we are ever foolproof,” Superintendent Rusty Bookman said. “Incidents like this are those things that make you reflect, come back together as a group.”

Bookman said the district installed a new security system this summer that includes video entrances at all doors and school resource officers who develop relationships with the students at those schools.

“[This] was a test of the system that you have in place and I’m sure as we reflect on this, there are going to be things that we can do better,” Booman said. “We’ll work on those and try and make those better.”

Sheriff Wood noted that having a school resource officer there helped keep the children calm while the schools were locked down.

“Having built a rapport in the last three months with him has really kind of opened the door for them to know that we're there to help them, the kids,” Wood said.

Wood said Aeiker was taken into custody and is being held in jail on a charge of domestic violence.