According to West Haven police, a 14-year-old student at Engineering and Science University Magnet School made a verbal threat with graphic pictures. News 8 is not naming the boy because of his age.
Police say the student was removed from school has been charged with Breach of Peace. The daily operation of the school was not interrupted.
A classmate of the boy, who asked to be identified only as Gabriel, spoke to News 8’s Mario Boone with his mother’s permission. Garbiel said it was all a big misunderstanding.
“There’s not a single doubt in my mind that he was joking,” Gabriel said.
Yet, for New Haven Public Schools chief operating officer William Clark, school threats are no laughing matter.
“This is absolutely not a joke,” Clark said. “We cannot take any threat lightly, so we have to investigate and look into it.”
News 8 obtained a statement from Clark to parents, which reads:
New Haven Public Schools takes the safety of our students and staff very seriously. Today, we received information regarding an alleged threat by a student at ESUMS. School authorities responded immediately per protocol and the proper authorities were notified. The ESUMS Administrative Team and District Security work in concert with both the West Haven and New Haven Police Departments to ensure that safety measures are appropriate and responses are timely. At no point in time will safety or school climate be compromised. The West Haven Police Department took immediate action and the student was taken into custody and charges were filed. At no point in time were students or staff placed in danger. All threats are taken seriously. We will handle all situations according to protocol and make sure that no ones’ safety is at risk. The students and staff are safe and there is no additional concern of risk or injury. As a District we will continue to monitor this case closely and to remain vigilant as we work collaboratively with our staff, students, parents and partners to maintain our of our schools and safe and healthy learning environments. Our Trauma Support team, Counselors and Partner health support systems are also in place as needed to support students and staff.”
Clark also issued an additional statement, which reads, in part:
New Haven Public Schools has invested in a variety of human and technological security measures and partnerships designed to keep our schools safe. Those systems as well as the protocols and policies in place for emergency response and student safety are paramount.
In the days following the Florida incident I have met with our Operations and Security team and have also met with the Police and Fire Chiefs as well as the Emergency Operations Director for the City. Each of these departments has proactively committed at the highest levels to continue their collaboration with us on policies, protocols, training and planning to both reinforce our existing plans and to update and expand our efforts strategically.”
School leaders in Fairfield are also dealing with a recent social media threat against students at one of their high schools. Authorities held a town hall style meeting Wednesday with parents, teachers, students and law enforcement to tackle the problem head-on.
I think it’s really good to have these types of meetings,” said student Aleysha Henry.