Vermont schools troubled by rash of threats

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A string of threats at Vermont schools have some parents concerned for their kids' safety. So how are school districts making sure students stay safe?

Hazen Union School Monday night: Administrators were alerted a high school student asked another student for a gun. We don't know why. Hardwick Police, the Vermont Department for Children and Families and the student's parents were called. Mental health screeners assessed the student's risk.

"This is serious," said JoAnne LeBlanc, the Orleans Southwest Schools Superintendent. "We're concerned on many levels. This also concerns us to the frame of mind to the student as far as their own personal well-being."

The superintendent would not say if the student was allowed back to school. Parents were not notified about the incident. Teachers were briefed and went into what the district describes as "heightened alert due to a possible risk."

"There's no 100 percent guarantee here, but I do feel that we have practiced our drills. That we are constantly being vigilant about things. We are happy to meet with parents to talk about how to make your child feel safe, how to help you feel safe about what's going on in the school," LeBlanc said.

In Rutland, parents tell us a student threatened to kill black classmates. We reached out to Rutland High Principal Bill Olsen.

"When these rumors start to snowball like this, it's scary to people. What we try to do always is to investigate methodically and thoughtfully and try to make sure we have the facts first," Olsen said.

Olsen says a conversation between students was overheard and repeated to other students before being reported to him last week. School interviews and a police investigation determined the threat was not credible.

"We couldn't substantiate that that threat was made," Olsen said. "There was no clear evidence that it was said."

Olsen says he emailed parents and wants to meet with any families or students who are upset.

And in Orleans, Lake Region High School went into lockdown Tuesday after police say a student threatened another student and staff member over the phone.

The male student was cited for disorderly conduct in juvenile court. He can't return to school until the police investigation is done.