Robocall made to alert parents matter dealt with
By Kaitlin Servant
Citizen Chronicle Writer
CHARLTON — Parents of Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School students received a robocall Tuesday night regarding a student’s “joke” about “shooting up” the school.
The student, a Webster resident, allegedly made the comments on Tuesday afternoon, and news spread quickly among other students and their families. School administrators felt a robocall was the best way to assure the public the threat was being handled effectively. The identity of the student has not been publicly revealed by officials.
Charlton Police Chief Graham Maxfield was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but Charlton Police Sergeant Daniel Dowd confirmed there was a police presence at Bay Path on Wednesday morning.
“We sent two officers to the school this morning,” Sgt. Dowd said. “Not because we felt there was still a threat but to reassure everyone.”
In a telephone interview, Bay Path Principal Clifford Cloutier stressed that administration takes any situation like this very seriously, especially given the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, as well as schools nationwide experiencing an uptick in threats. “People are on edge because of recent events. Sometimes something gets said as a joke but other people overhear or interpret it differently. But we need to take every situation seriously. Safety comes first,” Mr. Cloutier said.
The robocall families received specifically urged parents to talk to their children about joking about recent tragedies. It’s unclear exactly what comments the student in question made but Mr. Cloutier said the news spread quickly, thanks in part to social media. While the school administration was attempting to get to the bottom of the matter by interviewing students who allegedly heard the comments, parents were already making calls to the school and the police about what they were hearing and reading. Mr. Cloutier added, “Because of those rumors we felt a robocall to parents was appropriate.”
Mr. Cloutier also mentioned that the school has been doing a lot of safety education and prevention — even before this recent incident. Teachers have participated in an active shooter training program called ALiCE, and there were previous plans in place to roll out student training this week.
“We hope nothing like that ever happens here, or anywhere else for that matter. But we still take training and precautions seriously,” Mr. Cloutier said.