[UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.] BRATTLEBORO -- Students at public schools throughout Windham County Monday morning saw increased police presence and security measures, as a result of a perceived threat.

According to officials, a person, who had previously made nonspecific threats regarding school age people, might be returning to the area.

In addition to schools in the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union, added security measures were taken by schools in the Windham Central Supervisory Union and the Windham Southwest Supervisory Union.

Brattleboro Police Chief Gene Wrinn said that there was no specific threat regarding any of the schools at all. "The problem is, in this age, any type of threat, there needs to be a response."

Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Ron Stahley cited technical difficulties and apologized to parents who did not receive word of the extra school security until late Sunday evening.

"That was not our intent," Stahley said. He added that administrators throughout the supervisory union were gathering information and conferring to develop a "consistent message" to send to parents over the weekend.

"I was trying to gather information on Saturday. Unfortunately, our e-mail system was down," Stahley said. "As a result of technical problems, (robocall notifications) were delayed."

Stahley said he respects the decision of parents who decided to keep their kids away from school on Monday.


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Absenteeism was estimated at 40 to 50 percent throughout the supervisory union, he said.

But Stahley added: "We wouldn't open schools if we didn't think they were safe."

Stahley visited area schools Monday morning to meet with officials.

A robocall was put out to local parents Sunday evening, alerting them to the situation

"It has been brought to the school district's attention, by local law enforcement officials, that an individual may have made threatening statements that will cause us to take precautionary measures over the next few days," one of the messages, recorded by Brattleboro Union High School Principal Steve Perrin, stated. "Brattleboro Police and Vermont State Police will be conducting extra inclusive patrols at all of our schools beginning Monday."

Perrin reiterated that the lockdown was precautionary, adding that BUHS "already secure(s) our building by locking at exterior doors, including our front entrances. That practice will continue."

Many local parents were upset about the vagueness of the call, and viewed the late nature of Sunday's call as a case of "too little, too late."

"They wanted to sound like they were on top of things but with all the vagueness all they did was cause a mass panic," read a post by a local man on the Reformer's Facebook page Monday morning. "The kids are all scared and nobody wants to send them to school today."

And one parent posted that she was keeping her daughter home from school today. "I may be overreacting but I'm not taking that chance."

Brattleboro police, when contacted about the calls Sunday night, said that the decision to send out the robocalls was made by the school district, and that no other information would be available.

According to Brattleboro Town Manager Barbara Sondag, town officials on Friday were notified that a person, who had previously made nonspecific threats regarding school age people, might be returning to the area.

"Taking the threats seriously, representatives from police, fire and town administration met to develop a response plan," Sondag stated in a release. "Town officials contacted representatives from the WSESU to alert them to our concerns and have asked them to be extra vigilant during their daily activities, and to notify school personnel of increased patrols by law enforcement."

Sondag also stated that, since the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman last December entered an elementary school and shot and killed 20 students and several members of faculty before turning the gun on himself, Brattleboro town officials are extremely sensitive to possible threats to local children and will respond in a proactive manner. "While we live in a time that requires us to be watchful, the individual in question has violated no laws and our response must therefore be balanced."

Selectboard Chairman Dick DeGray Monday morning told the Reformer "I'm aware of the situation but am unable to comment on it at this point."

DeGray was in attendance at a Brattleboro Town School Board meeting last Wednesday, and said a bulk of the conversation was connected to school safety and the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

Editor's note:We will provide further information as it becomes available. You can also share your thoughts with other parents on our Facebook page: here.

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This is the full press release issued by the Brattleboro Town Office, Monday morning:

On Sunday evening Superintendent Ron Stahley sent a phone message to parents and staff of WSESU alerting them that the school doors would be locked due to safety concerns. Following is additional information regarding the concerns.

On Friday January 25 in the afternoon Town Officials were notified that a person, who had previously made nonspecific threats regarding school age people, might be returning to the area. Taking the threats seriously representatives from Police, Fire and Town Administration met to develop a response plan. Town Officials contacted representatives from the WSESU to alert them to our concerns and have asked them to be extra vigilant during their daily activities, and to notify school personnel of increased patrols by law enforcement.

Since the recent tragedy at Newtown we are extremely sensitive to possible threats to our children and will respond in a proactive manner. While we live in a time that requires us to be watchful, the individual in question has violated no laws and our response must therefore be balanced.

There is no additional information to be released at this time. We ask everyone to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

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Here is a transcript from one of the robocalls:

Good evening, this is Steve Perrin, principal of Brattleboro Union High School.

And I apologize for the late call on a Sunday evening. I have to pass on an important message from Superintendent Ron Stahley.

It has been brought to the school district's attention, by local law enforcement officials, that an individual may have made threatening statements that will cause us to take precautionary measures over the next few days.

Brattleboro Police and Vermont State Police will be conducting extra inclusive patrols at all of our schools beginning Monday.

As you know, at BUHS, we already secure our building by locking at exterior doors, including our front entrances. That practice will continue.

Again, please remember, these measures are precautionary, while school officials and our local and state police work together to ensure all of our students remain safe.

Again, I'm sorry for the late call, and have a great evening.