AHS student makes ‘credible threat’

  • Police responded to a “credible threat” at Athol High School on Tuesday. Athol Daily News file photo

Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

ATHOL — The police department on Tuesday responded to a report of a direct threat to students at 10 a.m.

Darcy Fernandes, superintendent of Athol-Royalston Regional Schools, confirmed a male student under the age of 18 at Athol High School made a “credible threat” to students on social media.

Fernandes immediately called Police Chief Russell Kleber and a meeting was quickly convened with School Resource Officer Doug Kaczmarczyk, who was on site. It was determined to be a credible threat. Chief Kleber sent a second officer to the high school to secure the building and other officers to the other schools.

The superintendent’s office called the Royalston Police Department to ensure a police presence was at Royalston Community School.

Chief Kleber said, “Our first concern was the overall safety of all the students in the school system. I reached out to the State Police commander, who activated the Community Action Team and sent several troopers to Athol — directly to the schools. We had a pretty rapid response.”

All teachers were alerted, a message was posted on the school district’s website and auto calls were made to parents. School remained in session and the investigation continued.

“There was no imminent threat,” said Kleber. “It was at a different level.”

Fernandes declined to describe details of the threat, and said only that a hearing will be held with the child and his family.

“The student will not be returning,” she said.

In a post on the district’s website, Fernandes described the incident and stated, “The school department will continue to work with the police department to ensure district schools are safe and secure for our students.”

Kleber said he was pleased with the response and assistance from the State Police.” He was also in direct contact with Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.

Following the response to the schools, Kleber also contacted the Town Manager Shaun Suhoski to inform people in town government of the situation.

Kleber, who has scheduled safety briefings with different segments of the population in response to the recent school shooting in Florida, said, “We won’t be waiting outside the school, waiting for word to go in. None of my officers will wait. We will enter the school, no matter what.”

Kleber will on March 14 give a presentation titled “Athol KIDS (Keeping Innocents Defended and Safe),” a one-hour program he developed for the students and teachers of Athol-Royalston School District.

This briefing is open to the public and will include strategies and defenses for senior citizens. Safety in public buildings and houses of worship will also be addressed in this presentation. The forum will start at 10 a.m. at the Athol Senior Center at 82 Freedom St.

“At this briefing, I will let people know it’s everyone’s responsibility,” said Kleber. “If you see something, you need to say something.”

For additional information, contact the Athol Council on Aging at 978-249-8986.

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