BRATTLEBORO — Best wishes for a happy New Year appear not to have extended from all when students returned to classes on Tuesday, Jan. 3 in the Windham Southeast School District.
Instead of diving into their studies, students spent up to 30 minutes in their classrooms while police responded and ascertained they were safe, which they quickly did.
Unconfirmed reports suggest an alum might have made aggressive statements while involved in social media gaming, prompting the caution. Law enforcement responded, and it was quickly and easily determined that there was no threat and that regular activities could ensue.
While the incident has not been explained by Brattleboro police or school administration, Windham Southeast Superintendent Mark Speno sent a message to the community saying, “Earlier this morning, out of an abundance of caution, our BUHS campus entered into a 'shelter in place.'”
“Late this morning, area law enforcement contacted us because of a potential threat to the campus,” Speno wrote, acknowledging that “this is not the ideal way to start the New Year.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, administrators called for a shelter in place and students remained in classrooms during this time,” he wrote. “Administrators worked with local law enforcement to determine that the campus is safe and secure. We have since resumed normal activities.”
Speno thanked the police for their response, as well as “administrators and safety teams for decisive decision making and keeping safety at the forefront of those decisions.”
He implored the community to “please know that we took these steps to ensure the safety of everyone on our campus.”
“Although it is very distressing to receive communication like this, the good news is that the systems that we do have in place worked,” he continued. “Communication was efficient and quick. In keeping the safety of students and staff at the forefront of all that we do, a decisive decision was made to enter 'shelter in place.'”
Throughout the process announcements were made to students and staff.
Brattleboro Area Middle School Principal Keith Lyman confirmed his school was also apprised by police and students were kept in classrooms for 15 to 30 minutes.
“I feel this is a pretty isolated situation,” Lyman said, noting that police arrived “very quickly” and “clearly indicated to us the school was safe and we could go back to normal operations.”