Community meeting in Fair Haven on alleged school shooting plot

Published: Feb. 28, 2018 at 5:41 PM EST
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Wednesday night was the start of recovery for families in the Fair Haven community. It's been about two weeks since an alleged school shooting plot was discovered by police, and now, officials at Fair Haven Union High School are rethinking their policies and procedures after this devastating threat.

"It takes a community to keep kids safe, and it worked here," said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont.

Welch was in attendance-- but only to listen-- to the more than 100 community members who attended Fair Haven Union High School's community night. It was an opportunity for parents to hear the exact timeline of events from police, and get their questions answered.

"We need to know why something like this would've happened, possibly could've happened, we need to know what was done about, we need to know what we can do to prevent such situations in the future," said Rose Anne Van Lew, a parent.

Fair Haven Police Chief Bill Humphries gave insight into how he handled the threats when police were first tipped off. Some parents wondered why the school wasn't closed the day after the first complaint.

"We didn't have enough to disrupt the community. We wanted the community to go on business as usual," Humphries said.

The superintendent of the Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union laid out what the next steps are as the district works to ensure student safety at school. Some of those include conducting security audit inspections for all schools; updating coach, staff and parents contact information; possibly requiring swipe card access for buildings; forming a public safety team for the district and refreshing the preferred ALICE training. Alice stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

"You get to choose whether or not you're going to lock your doors and barricade in and everybody's going to grab something and anybody coming in that door is going to get it. Or you get to choose if you're going to evacuate," acting FHUHS Principal Jason Rasco said.

The chief praised residents for coming together in uncomfortable circumstances and thanked the Fair Haven community for remaining united.

"Fortunately, this developed the way it developed. I think we dodged a bullet, no pun intended," Humphries said.

Another question asked by multiple parents was what is next for the man behind the alleged threat, Jack Sawyer. The Rutland County state’s attorney says the bail hearing is ongoing and a judge will decide by Friday if Sawyer will remain behind bars.