Perpetrators, who have not been identified by the New Haven Board of Education, have made a threat in relation to New Haven’s Wilbur Cross High School over social media, according to New Haven Public Schools press release on Monday.
“My understanding is that no credible threat has been determined at this time,” William Clark, chief operating officer of the New Haven Board of Education, said in an interview with the News.
Clark said that the New Haven Public Schools became aware of the threat indirectly — city residents raised concerns about posts and forwarded them to district officials. He said that an incident like this is unusual, but the school administration takes any threats seriously and responds appropriately.
Wilbur Cross remained in session Monday on a regularly scheduled half day.
In an interview with the News, Wilbur Cross junior Nile Lee said that there were many absences the day after the threat was made. Lee said that she assumed people took precautionary measures in order to stay safe.
New Haven Public Schools Superintendent Carol Birks informed district parents and guardians of the incident in an email Monday. Upon receiving news of the threat, Birks said she immediately coordinated with school and district security officials, as well as the New Haven Police Department to ensure that the New Haven Public Schools could safely host classes on Monday.
The New Haven Police Department is actively investigating the matter, although the press release noted that the specific origin and credibility of the message has not yet been determined. Police and other support has been provided to the school and its security team in order to maintain a safe school environment.
“The deployment of School Resource Officers and District Security staff in the district’s many buildings assure the students, employees, visitors and faculty who use them are kept safe,” Birks wrote.
New Haven schools have effective security measures in place and rely on a close working relationship with the New Haven Police Department, according to the press release.
In February — in response to the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida — New Haven Public School administrators and security officers announced new security measures, including plans to update the district protocols and create a new task force to review safety policies.
By April, the newly formed School Safety Security Task force — comprised of representatives from the Police Department, Fire Department, office of Emergency Management and school system — had already begun implementing updated safety policies. One such update was the standardization of the way a school responds to fire alarms — now, activation results in immediate deployment of two New Haven police officers and a call to the Fire Department.
Birks said student safety is the top priority for New Haven schools. She said that the New Haven Police Department, school security officers, New Haven Public Schools Central Office and Wilbur Cross Administration have planned and collaborated, which allowed them to respond quickly and proactively to the issue.
Clark said that this collaboration will continue, and that they will revise their plans and responses “as facts and circumstances dictate.” Birks added that she will continue to monitor the particular case and all issues of security very closely.
Birks was elected as New Haven Public School Superintendent in November 2017.
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