Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… – New Haven Independent

by , and | Dec 6, 2021 1:13 pm
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Posted to: Hamden, Schools
Lucy Gellman/Arts Paper Photos
Top: Cops on scene at Wilbur Cross Monday morning. Bottom: Junior Mikayla Torres on the phone with her mom.
A 17-year-old Wilbur Cross High School student has been arrested for phoning in a false gun threat that led to a lockdown — on a day when threats caused havoc for eight different New Haven schools and at least two Hamden schools.
Nora Grace-Flood Photo
SRO Jeremy Brewer stands outside closed Hamden High School Monday, alongside three other police officers assigned to the campus for extra security. On Brewer’s first full day working in the high school this fall, he deescalated a situation in which a student was carrying a loaded gun within the building.
The Cross student made a 911 call Monday morning stating that someone with a gun was attempting to get inside the school, according to Acting Police Chief Renee Dominguez.
The school shut down, then sent students home early.
Police were able to track down the student, who admitted she made up the story, Dominguez stated at a press conference held late Monday afternoon at police headquarters. (Click here to watch the press conference.)
Click here to read an on-the-scene report by the Arts Paper’s Lucy Gellman about the lockdown and early dismissal.

Thomas Breen photo
Mayor Elicker and Chief Dominguez at Monday afternoon’s presser.
Meanwhile, different threats — including threats to shoot up schools — arrived via email, social media, and telephone to Hillhouse, Career, Riverside, Amistad, and Cooperative Arts & Humanities high schools, Conte School, and Edgewood School.
The Career threat included a vow to shoot up” the campus on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and deliver a long painful death.” The school went into partial lockdown.
Police identified an out-of-state juvenile” responsible for at least two or three of the Instagram postings, Dominguez reported. She said law enforcement in that person’s state has been notified and will prepare a warrant for an arrest.
At this time we have not found that any of the threats are credible,” Mayor Justin Elicker stated.
Hamden’s Board of Education has scheduled a special community meeting starting at 6 p.m. Monday to address multiple threats of gun violence that have closed the town’s high school for three days running.
Eli Whitney Technical School had a lockdown and then early dismissal after an online threat that who ever is in eli by 11:30 … will die,” followed by racial epithets and a parting call to die in flame fuckers.”

Because Eli Whitney is part of the Connecticut Technical High School System, both the Hamden Police Department and state police arrived at the school Monday morning and safely evacuated the building around 11:30 a.m., two hours after the school went into lockdown. 
There’s no evidence that this is credible,” Eli Whitney Principal Carlos Aldave said of the copy cat threats,” echoing what he said he was told by the state police. 
They don’t remember that this is a very, very serious prank,” he said of those posting on social media. 
Once the cat is out of the bag, it takes a while until some people get arrested,” he reflected, noting that this is the first threat the school has received since he first entered his position in July. Until they’re held accountable,” he said, they’ll continue.”

Hamden High has been shut down since Friday, and will remain closed at least through Tuesday, following social media postings from individuals threatening to shoot up the school.
Two separate threats aimed at Hamden High, which followed the tragic news of the Michigan High School shooting on Tuesday, first led to the school closing down Friday and then again Monday and Tuesday. Superintendent Jody Goeler said the school currently intends to reopen on Wednesday.
Those threats, which are currently under investigation, alongside two other recent Hamden High headlines — including one student getting stabbed just off campus in late November and another student carrying a loaded gun within the building in early October — are prompting parents to start pushing for answers regarding what security, social supports, and communication look like like within Hamden High and across the district.
Monday night’s Board of Ed meeting will kick off several events organized this week by concerned community members to discuss not only the recent anonymous threats which have led to canceled classes, but broader issues of heightened intrapersonal violence — and the common presence of weapons within school buildings — that have reportedly defined day to day life for students and teachers throughout the district since the early fall.
Parents are very worried, very scared, very concerned, and feel very paralyzed,” Karlen Meinsen, whose youngest daughter is in Hamden High’s freshman class, told the Independent Monday morning. 
Those threats, which are currently under investigation, alongside two other recent Hamden High headlines — including one student getting stabbed just off campus in late November and another student carrying a loaded gun within the building in early October — are prompting parents to start pushing for answers regarding what security, social supports, and communication look like like within Hamden High and across the district.

Some have said that daily violence within the school system has long been a given; it has only recently reached an obvious tipping point.
When my husband was home during the pandemic, the only sliver of light was that I did not have to worry about any violent act towards my husband and my child,” Jayme Clark, a physician assistant whose husband works at Hamden’s Middle School and whose child is an elementary student in the district, told the Independent.
Kids are two years behind in social emotional behavioral abilities. They don’t remember how to raise their hand, how to ask to go to the bathroom … or how to have a conversation with a teacher,” said Meinsen, who is also a fifth grade teacher in New Haven and member of Hamden High’s School Governance Council. 
Now, they live in the world of their phone and social media. Tik Tok challenges are at the forefront,” she added.
In addition to regular fights taking place between students within Hamden’s High School and Middle School, students are destroying bathrooms or publicly disrespecting, and in at least one case, slapping, their teachers to copy and reproduce viral video trends, she said.
It’s a domino effect; it’s just snowballing and snowballing and the kids are clearly very angry, and they are carrying weapons into school,” Meinsen said. They may not have been caught,” she said, unlike the student who was expelled in October for carrying a gun. But it’s common knowledge among the youth that kids have weapons.”
Hamden Superintendent of Schools Jody Goeler was not available for comment Monday morning. Goeler told the Independent on Dec. 1, after a stabbing at the high school, that the one thing that’s consistent in all students’ lives is going to school.”

He pointed to what the school has tried to do to support students this past year, including using federal funds to offer free summer programming to all public school students, including no charge transportation and meals. Since the beginning of the school year and up to the first of December, Goeler said Hamden High had increased their security by 25 percent. Now a total of eight security guards monitor the high school. 
Just as the challenges faced by socially deprived students and overworked teachers have been felt on a national level, their consequences have as well. 
Look at what happened in Michigan… In Meriden there was a lockdown, high schools are in crisis all over the country,” Meinsen observed. These kids are screaming for help,” she added, whether they’re sitting next to the student holding a gun or carrying it themselves.
Meinsen said she has called for the School Governance Council to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday evening, following Monday’s Board of Education forum. She said she and several other parents, teachers, community members and administrators like Hamden High Principal Nadine Gannon will draft a letter to Superintendent Goeler with recommended policy suggestions. 
On Sunday, she said, she is organizing a rally alongside the leaders of a newly formed group named Concerned Parents For School Safety.” The goal is to bring local groups combating gun violence and supporting youth health together to walk from Hamden High to Town Hall to bring the community together, create pressure on the administration to provide answers, and to build solutions among those directly impacted and involved. 
And on Thursday, Hamden’s Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships Council will hold yet another meeting to review Hamden’s current school security system and answer public questions. 
In the short term, until we have a grip on the crisis, the answer is metal detectors,” Meinsen said, offering her stance on how to begin combatting issues of violence.
Goeler had previously said he does not believe in metal detectors in schools, asserting that they undermine trust and are unfeasible in a large building of 1,700 students. On Dec. 1 he said: We’re not taking anything off the table.” 

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Sadly, this has become a game for some students.

Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

This is concerning and very scary. Having an 7 year old and 14 year old in high school in New Haven you can imagine what is going through my head. We made the decision to get our kids. What is wrong with people to do this. Is this someone that is just being stupid. Most likely, but you don't know. All kinds of thoughts go through my head. Metal detectors and police in schools need to happen. Enough with this woke culture. Those anti police ideas need to end. Our communities are suffering because of it.
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

The ironic and scary thing here is that of all the dozens of school shootings I recall reading about in the media at least since Columbine, I don't recall that any of them was ever preceded by a phoned-in threat. Red-alert social media postings discovered later, yes. Phoned-in threats? Nope.

These are, as Principal Aldave said, likely ​“copy cat threats" — pranks and nothing more — but of course the administrators at these schools have to err on the side of caution. And, as Karlen Meinsen so eloquently notes (full disclosure: I know her personally), the situation at Hamden High School clearly goes deeper than a stupid copycat prank in the wake of yet another tragic and nationally publicized school shooting. I hope the meetings and rallies lead to more than just words.

God help America. We are one sick society.
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

Wanted to pop in and send thoughts and love to everyone in the district today. Everything in the schools sounds so hard at baseline right now and to add this level of vigilance and concern, I imagine it's all exhausting. Thank you to the staff and teachers, for everything you're doing right now. Wishes of health and safety from an NHPS family.

Horrible situation with threats . I hope the police catch these folks soon
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

simply, this is an escalation of the same old playground antics. this, by now, should be easily seen and understood. just like flash mobs went from nice dance routines in malls, to flash robbing those same malls. easy peasy.

the simple solution though is not what your gonna like. but since we can't legally bully the bullys (heck, we can't even call it out). I'll just sit back and what society reap what it sowed.
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

Districts are afraid to discipline students and this is the result. Thanks, NHPS, for forbidding expulsions.

Thanks also to so-called "parents" — hey, how is it that these children are so emotionally and socially challenged after 1.5 years home with YOU??
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

Aha, so now the Independent allows Replies.

And my reply to CY2: what an unbelievably clueless and insensitive comment. As if a year and a half cooped up together with even the most perfect loved one or family wouldn't take a toll on a growing child suddenly deprived of all the normal structure of life, and of interaction with peers, while the parent is forced to completely rearrange their life in every respect, again with no preparation time and minimal outside help.

Either you have no imagination and no empathy, or you are just enjoying trolling. Shame on you.

[Paul: "Aha, so now the Independent allows Replies." We never had a policy prohibiting replies. Not sure what that snark is a reference to. Maybe to the process over the past few days? We've been moving to a new content management system, with many bugs; and had comments frozen for a few days over the weekend when the switchover took place importing 20,000+ files into a new system.]
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

Gretchen Pritchard: Respectfully, – this kind of disruptive, "criminal behavior" has been going on for a very long time. A distinction without a difference (1978/79 & 2021/22). There are some students (if in fact, they are students) who are way off the normal script and take some deep twisted satisfaction in ruining life for everyone else. These kinds of anti-social behaviors were present way before C-19. And yes, "Districts are afraid to discipline students…." Somehow along the way, because we love kids and try to make life better for them, we coddle them instead of teaching them discipline and self-responsibility.
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

No snark intended, Paul. I had no idea there was a "Reply" option before. Did anybody use it? I mean, people wrote new comments beginning @ Username, but I don't recall a "Reply" click attached to individual comments.

[Paul: My apologies! I'm sorry I misunderstood. Yes, new option, part of this new system we're wrestling to fine-tune.]
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

Parents are to parent and many left their children to their own devices and now all are reaping the whirlwind of their antics. No one had time to prepare so if poor parents parent poorly; whose fault is that? People need to grow up or get those tubes tied and snipped. Get a goldfish instead . Stop enabling poor parents with wild children

I am not sure that their comment about a reply option was snarky. It appears that a reply option is a new feature listed under every comment. That was never there before. People were allowed to reply before but never were given the option to hit the "reply" link and have their comment listed under the comment they were replying to.

[Paul: Got it. Thanks!]
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

Public schools, particularly high schools, have always been subject to that small sect of crazies that raise their knobby little heads whenever they feel the need to come up for air and feed their demented craving for mayhem. I taught at WC from 1978-1979, a wild, bad year. A year to remember, but also one to forget. Anthony Annunziata, the business teacher, was shot and killed that year by some brainless outsider punk. In addition to that tragedy, we were subjected to phoned-in bomb threats at least once a week, sometimes more. We would evacuate the building with whatever number of students that were there that day and re-enter the building with only about two-thirds of that number. This went off and on for most of the school year. Let's hope that no deep tragedy happens at any of our schools and that these disruptions play themselves out quickly. Should any of these punks of today be traced/apprehended, surely the full extent of any criminal charges must be applied. At its best public school education in New Haven is close to a failure for many kids. C-19 and this criminal nonsense only make it infinitely worse.
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

With school shootings comes copycat threats from disturbed persons wanting attention. There has long been an issue with bomb threats or gun threats being called into schools from students wanting to get out of class or to cause mayhem, but with the internet, anybody anywhere can make a threat online for attention and to cause chaos and feel powerful.
Our children are suffering and need mental health support to help them learn coping mechanisms for their anxiety, depression and stress.
Our country has a violence problem and a weapons problem.
Until we address the issues with our country’s lack of mental health support systems, and address our weapons problems and our violence problems, and our lack of oversight and the corporate profiteering from Internet social media postings that are violent, destructive, disperse false information, encourage criminal behavior, and are outright mean, there will continue to be an ongoing issue and events that are deeply tragic to us all.
We need to have a National reckoning on what kind of world do we want our children and our grandchildren to grow up in? We need systemic changes.
Threats Shut Down High Schools; Student… - New Haven Independent

Multiple Schools in 2 cities get closed down due to called in threats of gun violence and some commentators believe that it's kids with mental health needs, greatly affected by life and other BS.

Thousands of families inconvenienced because of thoughtless criminal behavior by the people making the threats. Parents now complaining of all sorts of problems and then there are those concerned with "militarizing" schools.

The people making threats are criminals, not kids crying out for help. They need to be punished for their actions.
Two pieces of furniture (dressers) dumped in front of our residence,…
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