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Threats trigger lockdown at South Burlington schools

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 2:18 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Two South Burlington schools were on lockdown for hours Thursday because of a threat involving a weapon. Now, we’re hearing from students inside the school.

South Burlington High School and Tuttle Middle School went into lockdown after a parent called 911, saying their child saw a video of a student with a weapon in the school.

South Burlington Police Chief Shawn Burke says six boys were involved in the incident, all of them juveniles, and some from each school. Burke says three students threatened three others with a weapon. The boys were interviewed by detectives.

Students tell me they heard the lockdown message over the intercom and didn’t know what was happening.

“We were fine it was just threatening,” said Ben Kirby, a 10th grader.

“For me when they called it over the intercom, we all thought it was a drill at first, so it wasn’t too bad. But then we were all there for a long time so it was a little bit stressful,” said Izzy Lenart, an 11th grader.

Chief Burke says no weapon was found, everyone is accounted for and no one was injured.

Several students I spoke with told me they wished they had more communication from the administration during the incident because they were locked in their classrooms consumed by worry.

Meanwhile, their phones were lighting up with students exchanging rumors about what might be happening.

Growing up in an era of school shootings, some students assumed the worst.

“At first, I was scared. I called my parents, texted them I loved them just in case the worse could happen. But then slowly over time my friends and teachers reassured me that I would be OK,” said Jaxon French, a ninth grader.

“Our mom she texted back really quickly. There was a lot of I love you, everything is going to be OK. Take a deep breath, everything is going to be fine. I love you, you’re going to get through this,” said Orionna Britt, a 12th grader.

School let out on time Thursday and will be back open Friday.

Police staged across the street from South Burlington High School.
Police staged across the street from South Burlington High School.(WCAX)

Letter sent to South Burlington parents:

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

We want to begin by letting all of you know that all students and staff in the school buildings are safe at this time.

This afternoon, F. H. Tuttle Middle School administration received word that some students were being threatened by other students claiming to be armed. Both F.H. Tuttle Middle School and South Burlington High School immediately went into lockdown and the police were contacted. The South Burlington Police Department and high school administrators are currently investigating.

At this time, the lockdown has been lifted. Students are being asked to remain in their classrooms, but education is continuing.

Student dismissal and busses will run on schedule.

I will provide you with additional information this afternoon.

David Young

Superintendent

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