WINDSOR — Officials in the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District are aware of the rumors circulating that something bad is going to happen at Windsor High School on Friday, but they’re reassuring parents and students that the school is safe and it will be business as usual.
Another rumor that the high school will be under lockdown Friday is also not true.
“We’re not having a lockdown on Friday,” said WHS principal Michelle Scallon on Tuesday afternoon. “We will be very safe here on Friday. We’ll have some additional police here, also a couple of retired teachers will help us monitor doors and walk around through the building to help calm some anxiety. We have done everything we can to make Windsor High School a safe place on Friday, and we’re going to do business as usual.”
In the wake of the elementary school shooting at Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed, and the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world Friday, Windsor officials said they’re sensitive about any comments or rumors flying around town.
Rumors have been circulating around town about threats made against the school, but Windsor law enforcement officials say it is hearsay so far and they have not seen or heard any actual threats, nor have they identified an individual who is the source. “The rumors that are floating around are unfounded,” Scallon said. “I want the kids to know that the staff and administration at Windsor High School continue to look out for their safety, and they’re very important to us. Something cool that happened today was a group of kids came up to me and said, ‘Mrs. Scallon, can we put some happy notes around the school?’ They had made a bunch of positive statements and some good, happy thoughts.”
Scallon said it’s the parents’ prerogative to keep their children home from school Friday, and a student will be issued an excused absence if an absence is called in. The students are taking finals this week.
“We will make arrangements with their teachers to accommodate their finals,” Scallon said. “In light of what happened in Connecticut, I know there’s some real anxiety and fears.”
There also will be a law enforcement presence at the high school Friday.
“We’ll have officers at the high school, and we’re doing high visibility patrol in the school areas at the key times when we can be,” said Windsor Police Chief John Michaels, who beefed up security around the schools after the Connecticut shooting Friday. “A lot of parents have been calling the school, a couple of parents have called us and gave us that information (about Friday). Anytime something happens like this throughout the nation, we’re keenly aware of what needs to happen. You will see our officers more frequently around the schools and in the schools to try and provide as much security as we can.”
Re-4 Superintendent Karen Trusler said she appreciates students, parents and the community members’ vigilance in reporting anything that is suspicious when they hear something or see something that’s posted in social media about a potential concern, Trusler said.
“Those are looked at and investigated,” Trusler said.
Michaels and Trusler said to contact the police department or school district if anyone hears something specific.
“There’s not a lot of substance behind it. There’s no names involved in this, there’s no activity involved in it,” Michaels said of the rumor about the high school. “If somebody has some information that would be more beneficial into verifying any of this, that would be helpful. If anybody hears any specifics, we ask them to pass that along to us. Because of what happened Friday, you have to consider all possibilities. We have a bad combination. We have a horrific incident that happened Friday, and now we have this 12/21 that people have been talking about for a couple of years. When you add these two together, these things are going to come up.”
Dick Thomas, interim assistant principal at Windsor Middle School who has a daughter at the high school, feels that it’s very safe for parents to send their students to the high school Friday.
“I don’t think they need to worry about anything happening to their student. I really believe that,” Thomas said.
Windsor sophomore Spencer Hart, 15, said he isn’t going to school Friday.
“My parents actually said I couldn’t come to school,” Hart said. “I personally think it’s just threats. I don’t think anything that bad will happen. It’s stressful to have those things and worry about that.”
Nicole Sadek, 15, a freshman, isn’t going to school Friday either.
“I’m really scared. I think that they should cancel school because most of the people I’ve talked to that know about it are going to either ditch or their parents won’t let them come,” she said.
Another rumor put to rest was that a Windsor High School student was arrested last Thursday, before the Connecticut shooting, saying he intended to do something bad at the high school.
“There was no student arrested,” Michaels said. “It is not a criminal event. When it was investigated, it was more along the lines of joking around.”
Trusler said the high school and police investigated the incident.
“If any student issue was involved, it wasn’t with an arrest. It was dealt with at the school level,” Trusler said. “It could be a suspension, or some support through youth and family connections.”
We’re not having a lockdown on Friday. We will be very safe here on Friday.
— Michelle Scallon, Windsor High School principal