Student faces discipline for making threats
BRATTLEBORO — An 18-year-old senior at Brattleboro Union High School won't face criminal charges, but will face school discipline after he made unspecified threats to hurt people at the school, police and school officials said Friday.
Brattleboro Police Capt. Mark Carignan said the student, whom he wouldn't identify because no charges had been filed, had threatened to hurt people at the school on Friday. The student was heard by multiple students on Thursday during the school day, Carignan said. The students eventually told their parents, who in turn called police Thursday at about 9 p.m., which Carignan said triggered an immediate investigation. But because the threats were general in nature and not targeted at someone specific, they did not rise to the level of a crime, Carignan said, noting that police had consulted with the Windham County State's Attorney's office.
He said police had contacted the student and his guardian, interviewed witnesses, conducted searches and reviewed social media. Carignan said the police investigation determined the student did not have access to firearms, while refusing to say what the nature of the threat was.
Tracy Kelly Shriver, the Windham County State's Attorney, declined to comment but said the case is being handled as a juvenile matter.
BUHS Principal Steve Perrin said the student will face disciplinary matters; he said the student was not at school on Friday. Perrin said he sent an email at about noon on Friday to parents and teachers telling them of the incident and the police investigation, and then followed up with a notice to the students, who were still in class.
"There will be discipline," he said, noting that the school, as well as the police were conducting an investigation. Perrin said some parents had questions why they hadn't been notified before noon, and he said students had asked him whether they were safe.
"Obviously, we wouldn't have held school if we thought they weren't safe," he said.
Perrin said he supported the decision not to charge the student with a crime. "I respect that decision," he said. "We are grateful to the students and families who have stepped forward to report this incident," Perrin wrote in his Friday letter to the BUHS community. "As we have said for many years, one of the best school safety practices is developing a community where students are willing to report behavior that concerns them.
"We remain confident that our school is a safe place to learn," he said.
Carignan said he was encouraged that students and their parents recognized the seriousness of the possible threat and notified the police of the potentially volatile situation.
He noted that additional Brattleboro Police Department officers were on hand for the opening of school in addition to the school resource officer. Additional officers were also on hand when school got out for the day Friday afternoon. He said there was a junior high dance planned for Friday evening, and that police would be on hand for drop off and pick up as well. Perrin said the school has a good relationship with both the police department and the fire department to handle such emergencies.
In another community, students at Green Mountain Union High School in Chester had endured a week of disruption. On Thursday, police evacuated all the students after a bomb threat was called in. Earlier in the week, a man in Michigan called in another threat to the school. He was arrested on Thursday night, Vermont State Police said. Who was responsible for the Thursday threat hasn't been determined, police said.
Anyone with information about the Brattleboro incident can notify the police by calling the department at 802 257-7950, or call the department's tip line at 802 251-8188. A statewide tip line is also available at 844-848-8477.
Contact Susan Smallheer at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802 254-2311, ext. 154.
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