NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Police in three communities are investigating alleged threats received Wednesday, all deemed non-credible.
Massachusetts State Police confirmed with 22News that there was a “threat received by that school.” A call was made to the Northampton Safety Dispatch around 12:14 p.m. alleging a threat at the school. That threat was deemed non-credible by the Northampton Police Department following a search of the school.
The Northampton Police Department is investigating this incident, which is similar to the numerous other reports of hoax threats across the state this week.
The South Hadley High School also received a potential threat from outside the school around 1:15 p.m. Wednesday. South Hadley Police performed a search of the school, both inside and outside the building. All students and staff were found safe.
Chief Jennifer Gundersen told 22News the incident was determined to be a “swatting” call. A person called and allegedly threatened he was outside the school with a firearm.
Shelter-in-place procedures were activated at the school. A search and security operation was conducted at the school by officers from the South Hadley Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, and the South Hadley Fire District.
Upon finding the building secure, the High School was dismissed at the end of the day. Students on buses were released first, parents picking up children were asked to wait on Newton Street and not drive on campus until all the buses left the school.
All afternoon activities at South Hadley High School were canceled. Police remained on the campus until all the students had been dismissed.
Ludlow Police received a 911 call around 11:50 a.m. Wednesday claiming that a man was standing in front of the Ludlow High School with a bomb. The High School was informed and officers immediately were sent to the school.
Police checked the perimeter of the school campus and found no person outside the school. The threat was confirmed to be a hoax call. No students or staff were in any danger.
The Ludlow Police Department is investigating the incident.
Third day of “Swatting” calls across Massachusetts
This is the third day in a row Massachusetts schools have received threats, from Greenfield to Boston. Each time they happen, police and school districts are having to use all their resources.
“We’ll check thoroughly the school,” said Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood. “We’ll get the fire department, and the bomb squad involved, we use dogs.” Springfield Public Schools received a threat on Tuesday.
Massachusetts State Police are trying to figure out whose behind these threats, saying many appear to be connected. However, Clapprood said these threats are difficult to trace because technology allows people to cover their tracks.
With each hoax, Azell Cavaan with Springfield Public Schools worries about how they disrupt more than just the classroom.
“They’re wreaking so much havoc for so many people,” she told 22News. “Hundreds of thousands of people and they’re calling resources from real emergencies.”
Azell said each threat that has come into their department has been a hoax but the important thing is to make sure students and staff feel safe.
“It sends fear through the community and it makes people think school is not a safe place to be because these threats are coming across when in fact we have very many safety factors in place,” said Azell.
Azell feels mental health is an important factor in preventing these calls from happening, a sentiment echoed by Springfield Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood.
“A lot of conversation has to begin in the home,” she said. “It’s things that the Police Department can’t help you with or can’t get involved with. We’re the end result.”