Franklin Tech: Non-credible threats of gun violence two days in a row

  • Franklin County Technical School. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/17/2019 7:58:13 PM
Modified: 5/17/2019 7:58:00 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Franklin Technical School responded to nearly identical non-credible threats of gun violence two days in a row, according to local and state officials. 

Near the end of the school day Thursday, a student found in a classroom the words “shoot up school” written in pencil in small print on the May 17 date of a calendar, according to a release from Franklin Technical School. 

“During the investigation, a few students were interviewed and one student confessed to writing it as a joke,” Franklin Tech said in its release posted to Facebook on Friday morning. 

While no viable or credible threats were found by the Montague Police Department, the lead responding agency, “disciplinary proceedings regarding this situation” were ongoing, according to Franklin Tech.

Franklin Tech Superintendent Rick Martin said Friday in a phone interview the student will not be allowed back to school until the investigation is completed. No students have been expelled at this time, he said.

Along with the internal probe, Northwestern District Attorney Spokesperson Mary Carey said State Police with the District Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident. 

When students arrived to school Friday morning, they were greeted by a heavy police presence. 

“The reason for that was to gain confidence in our students and faculty that we had taken the previous threat very seriously,” Martin said. “Even though it was a non-credible threat, we wanted to send the threat to everybody that we do take these things seriously.”

But by 10:40 a.m. Friday, State Police responded to a new threat of gun violence. State police stayed at Tech for less than 10 minutes for Friday’s threat. 

Montague Police, the Northwestern District Attorney Office’s detective unit and the state police’s Community Action Team for schools responded to the threat Friday, according to state police. 

The threat was written in a bathroom, according to Martin and state police.

“It was close to something duplicating the day before,” Martin said. 

The words “shoot up school” or something very similar were written on the bathroom wall. 

It is not believed to be the same person who wrote the threats, Martin said. 

School officials do not have any significant leads at this time on who wrote the threat on the bathroom wall, Martin said. 

The threat led to students “sheltering in place” for about half an hour. 

Shelter-in-place protocol requires for no students to be in the hallways. Classrooms are locked and teaching continues. 

For the last seven to eight years, Martin said, Tech has practiced how to shelter in place. This was the first time they had to do so for a threat.

“That’s why you do the drills so that our students and faculty feel safe when we are in the situation,” Martin said. 

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264


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