Tighter security at Brattleboro-area schools - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Tighter security at Brattleboro-area schools

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A Sheriff's Deputy sat in a cruiser outside the Brattleboro High School Monday.  All the schools in the district including those in Putney, Dummerston, Gilford, and Vernon have tightened security due to "nonspecific threats to school age people."

"There has been no threat directed at our school system," said Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Ron Stahley.

A Public Service Announcement was issued Monday morning by Brattleboro's Town Manger saying, "Taking the threats seriously, representatives from police, fire and town administration met to develop a response plan."

That plan included locking all district doors and the extra patrols.  But more information as to who or when the threats were made was not included.

"I do know that there was a court proceeding involved with this individual and the court decided that he would be released," Stahley said.

With the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings fresh in everyone's minds, school response plans are getting extra scrutiny.  The Windham Southeast Supervisory Union worked with state police to enhance theirs.

The announcement from the town manager went on to say: "Since the recent tragedy at Newtown we are extremely sensitive to possible threats to our children and will respond in a proactive manner."

Parents were made aware of the situation Sunday night through automated calls. "Parents need to know that if they are dropping off their kids, if there is a state police cruiser or a Brattleboro Police Department cruiser, that the doors are locked when they are not normally locked, that we needed to get some information out to parents," Stahley said.

"You know you have to take these things seriously, unfortunately in the era that we are in," said Fredrick Noyes, a local parent with two young kids who are not yet in the district.  He said he knows several families who kept their kids home Monday.  According to school officials 40- 50 percent of the kids in the district were absent.  

"It is disturbing that one individual has that kind of power to do this but certainly we are all really concerned about our kids now and don't want to take any chances," Noyes said.

"I understand, from a parents perspective, that it is very unsettling and all we can do is assure them that we are doing everything we can to make sure that their kids are safe," Stahley said.

Brattleboro Police declined to speak on camera about the incident saying that the PSA sent out by the town manager spoke for itself.  

The tightened security will continue Tuesday and school officials and police will re-evaluate the plan then.

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