Hamden High School to implement metal detectors as the source of threats remains unknown

HAMDEN – When Hamden High School returns to class on Wednesday, security guards stationed at the entrances will scan them with metal detection rods.

Authorities plan to install metal detectors at the facility after two separate threats of violence prompted the district to close the school for three days.

They announced the plan and other new security measures at a special Education Council meeting on Monday evening.

The district also plans to establish a video observation room to monitor the high school and hire new staff, including a safety supervisor and a school suspension supervisor, said deputy superintendent of schools Christopher. Melillo at the meeting.


Having a suspension supervisor will free the teachers who currently oversee suspensions, Melillo said, ultimately increasing school-wide supervision.

Use of metal detectors will begin on Wednesday, when students are expected to return to school after a shutdown that began on Friday. The district has ordered metal detectors but will use chopsticks until they arrive, an official said at the meeting.

District officials announced the measures one day after learning of a potential threat to the school, the second in recent days.

The school closed on Friday after police learned of a threat of gun violence.

After authorities learned of a second threat, Superintendent of Schools Jody Goeler alerted families the school would be closed Monday and Tuesday.

“Tonight Hamden Public Schools received another threat directed at our Hamden high school community,” he said in an email. “In response to this threat, Hamden Public Schools are working with the Hamden Police Department and the Mayor’s Office to provide a proactive safety approach to the schools reopening. “

Police Chief John Sullivan said the latest threat was best described as a warning.

“It’s a very carefully crafted post that goes on Snapchat,” he said.

The warning is a post that refers to a threat to the school but does not directly do so, according to Mayor Lauren Garrett, who said last week’s threat fell into the same category.

“It is very difficult to determine the level of credibility of the threats that we see on social media, because it is just a screenshot that spreads on Snapchat,” she said.

Finding the origin of the message “is really important and difficult to do,” she said.

“This is why the statement that has been issued asks students to help determine the source of these threats, as it causes major disruption,” Garrett continued. “These are three days that the students will have to make up for in June.”

The Hamden Police Department’s detective unit “seeks to establish the threat level” and “establish where it came from,” according to Sullivan, who admitted it was a difficult task.

The threats “cause a lot of fear,” Garrett said. “We were all worried that students and staff would not feel comfortable going into high school until we could put safety measures in place.”

She admitted Monday morning that metal detectors were “part of the conversation”, as were additional security guards who could monitor building entrances. She said the district is considering reducing the number of high school admissions from three to two.

Metal detectors are “not my first choice, but I also want staff and students to feel safe in the building,” Garrett said. “I think I have to be open to general consensus.”

“We haven’t made any recommendations yet” on the metal detectors, Sullivan said Monday morning. “We’re looking at a lot of things right now. “

Also on Monday, Eli Whitney Technical High School was quarantined and students were later fired following a social media threat, police and school officials said.

At approximately 9:45 a.m., Connecticut State Police Troop I in Bethany said they were alerted by a parent that a student saw a threat on social media that was “interpreted to be related” to the technical high school. Eli Whitney.

The school principal was contacted and the building was closed. Soldiers and local police responded to the school, state police said.

Kerry Markey, communications director for Connecticut Technical Education and Career Sytem, ​​said Eli Whitney had been made aware of a threat referring to a weapon on social media. Markey said the building was evacuated and the students and staff were sent home for the day.

As for Hamden’s public schools, police were also reviewing security procedures in other districts, according to Sullivan, who said the city may use another agency to train staff in Hamden as early as Tuesday.

Garrett said on facebook Monday, she “continues to follow closely” the situation.

Those with information on the threats are asked to contact the Hamden Police Department at 203-230-4000.

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