AP NEWS

Officials Find No ‘credible Threat’ in Statement Allegedly Made by Student at Ashburnham’s Middle School

May 2, 2019

ASHBURNHAM -- School officials at the Overlook Middle School were made aware of threatening statements made by a student Wednesday afternoon and notified the police who have since concluded there is no credible threat.

According to Superintendent Gary Mazzola, a student made a verbal threat which was directed at the safety of students on a bus. He said that other students overheard the threat and reported it to the administration.

“We’re very happy that students told us about this and it goes to show you that our educational system is working,” he said. “They knew when something wasn’t safe and went to administration about it.”

Mazzola said that there was “no imminent danger” to students but the school does take threats seriously. Standard protocol, he said, was to get the police and school resource officers involved immediately.

The police department was told about the threat and began investigating its credibility, said Mazzola. Officers went to the student’s home and conducted a search of the area to ensure that there is no threat to the school.

In an email sent to parents Wednesday night, school officials informed parents of the threat and said that “any necessary discipline” will be an option for the student in question, including emergency suspension following an investigation.

Mazzola said there is no continued threat or danger to the students at the middle school. The name of the student who made the threat is unavailable because of student confidentiality.

“We also had an increased police presence at the school today (Thursday), just to ease people’s minds that things have been resolved,” said Mazzola.

Mazzola said he was confident in the staff and safety measures already in place at the school. Whenever they see anything suspicious, he said, it is reported immediately.

He also cited the number of safety drills and assemblies students participate in, and also emphasized the importance of communicating with students.

“It’s disappointing that people in this world would continue to say such things that they know are going to harm others,” he said.

Mazzola urged parents to talk to their children and have difficult conversations about safety so threats are reported and dealt with.

“We have to remain firm and brave and courageous. We can’t let our guard down,” he said. “We need to continue our safety protocols and education in order to get people to understand that we have to be a safe society.