The three buildings of the Cazenovia school district are operating on lock-out today after police received word Wednesday night of “an alleged threatening statement made by a high school student,” according to the district.
In a 6:45 a.m. telephone message to parents, Cazenovia Superintendent Matt Reilly stated that school officials were notified of the threat Wednesday night, and that, “following an investigation, law enforcement officials have deemed the threat non-credible.”
After consultation with and guidance by local police, district administration decided it was safe to keep school buildings open today, Reilly told the Cazenovia Republican. However, in “an effort to ease concerns,” a “heightened level of law enforcement” would be present at all three school buildings during the day.
According to the district website, schools are operating today on a “modified lock-out,” which means all exterior doors will be locked and any visitors will be met by school personnel.
Cazenovia Police Chief Michael Hayes affirmed to the Cazenovia Republican that “it was not a credible threat,” and the police presence at the district’s school buildings was “just to reassure parents and students, not because we thought it was a threat. If we thought it was really a viable threat we would have closed the school.”
Hayes said his officers would be at the schools all day today. He has not decided whether officers will be on school grounds on Friday, particularly because the forecast winter storm could necessitate a snow day for the district.
Hayes said the alleged threat was reported to police late Wednesday night, and an investigation was immediately launched. He said it was determined to be a non-credible threat, and that it was not a statement made on social media or via text messaging. “I can’t give lot of details because we are still following through on it,” he said.
Reilly said there was “no evidence” that an actual threat to the district was made by the student in question — he said there was no written threat made via phone or social media, so it is an alleged threat — but “we take all reports of threats seriously and investigate them fully.”
“We truly appreciate the ‘See something, hear something, say something’ mentality that was practiced by this parent [who notified authorities],” Reilly said.
Reilly said there was an all-faculty meeting before school on Thursday morning to discuss the alleged threat and to provide teachers with talking points for their classes. School guidance counselors also visited every classroom in the district and spoke with every class, he said.
The student being investigated in connection to the alleged threat was not in school today, Reilly said.
“We will be sending out a letter to parents updating them at the end of the day,” Reilly said. “We will continue, as we always do, to reflect on our response, looking for ways to improve in order to make our kids as safe as possible.”
Reilly said “appropriate action” will result from the ongoing school and legal investigation into the incident.
Hayes said that if anything comes out of the investigation, “that’s a terrorist threat, and someone will be arrested.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.
Sep 19, 2018
Sep 19, 2018