Dear Schodack CSD Community,
Thank you all very much for your patience, understanding and collaboration this morning. I know it was frightening and confusing for everyone in our school community. Now that the day has ended, I wanted to check in with a brief summary of events.
Today, multiple districts across our region and even in other states received “swatting” phone calls indicating there was an active shooter in some of their school buildings. Swatting incidents are false threats made against places with the sole purpose of triggering a police/SWAT team response and creating panic.
One of the buildings mentioned by name in today’s large number of swatting calls was Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School. When the school was made aware of the possible threat, Maple Hill was immediately placed on lockdown at approximately 8:45 AM. Shortly after that, Castleton Elementary and the Schodack District Office were both put into a precautionary lockout.
A lockout is when there is a possible threat outside a building and no one is allowed to enter the building but activities continue as normal. Lockdowns are emergency procedures put into place when there is believed to be an active threat inside a building, all activities inside cease while law enforcement immediately responds. The distinction between them is important as it determines the response of both the building and law enforcement.
Multiple law enforcement agencies were on-site at Maple Hill shortly after the swatting call was made this morning. Upon arrival at the school, they began a thorough sweep of the entire building to determine if there was a credible threat inside. As the situation continued and law enforcement searched the building we gathered accurate information to share with families as quickly as possible. Updates on the situation were sent out using the district’s automated email/text messaging system and posted on the district website and Facebook.
A little after 10:00 AM law enforcement finished their search of Maple Hill and determined there was no credible threat to the students or faculty/staff. They then came to CES and the District Office to inform them they could end their lockouts. Once the lockdown and lockouts were lifted, law enforcement and Questar III’s Health & Safety Dept. confirmed this was indeed the result of false reporting from a “swatting” call.
At approximately 10:15 AM we sent out/posted communications confirming the situation had been resolved and that district operations would resume as normal. We did give families the choice of whether they wished to pick up students at that point and many chose to do so.
While today’s threat was unfounded and the danger ultimately not real, it made the circumstances no less scary and traumatic. I know many feel shaken by what happened this morning and for many, those feelings will extend beyond today. Creating a safe environment to work and learn is our top priority, which is why we take every report seriously. Our buildings have emergency plans and we hold drills for them throughout the year. We hope we never have to put these plans into effect but today’s events show why they are so important. I wish these events had not happened but I am very proud of how our students and faculty/staff handled themselves as they occurred. As always, we encourage you and your students to report anything out of the ordinary or concerning.
Our schools will be open tomorrow and operating as normal. In addition to our regular counseling staff at both schools, extra counselors will be at Maple Hill tomorrow to provide support for any students or faculty/staff who need it. Though today’s threat was unfounded, we have also confirmed with our local police department that they will provide officers to be on-site at our schools tomorrow for additional peace of mind.
I thank all of you again for your help and cooperation today.
Jason M. Chevrier
Superintendent of Schools
Schodack Central School District