Whitesboro superintendent issues follow-up statement on alleged threat

The superintendent of the Whitesboro Central School District has released another statement regarding the alleged threat made by a student against the high school.

Posted: Nov. 8, 2017 4:28 PM
Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 4:28 PM

(November 1, 2017)

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The superintendent of the Whitesboro Central School District has released another statement regarding the alleged threat made by a student against the high school.

Superintendent Brian Bellair said on Tuesday that the district became aware of the alleged threat of violence on Monday night, and an investigation was immediately conducted by law enforcement. He said that nobody was in danger at any time.

This afternoon, Bellair released a follow-up statement clearing up questions that some parents in the district had, and providing more information about the situation:

"As a follow-up to yesterday’s communications regarding the alleged threat at our high school, I want you to know that, together with the NYS Police and Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI), we conducted a thorough and complete investigation. Our high school administration interviewed any and all students believed to have information regarding this matter. Ultimately, the investigation found insufficient evidence to confirm a credible threat was made.

There have been questions and concerns raised regarding the timing of our communication to parents. Some have asked why parents were not notified of a potential threat before school. At approximately 6:30 a.m. yesterday, the NYS Police were already at the home of the student alleged to have made the threat, thereby eliminating any potential threat to our students and staff at the high school arising from this report. For this reason, the decision to communicate with parents and the media after we had conducted our investigation was made as the accuracy of the information being disseminated is critical. Avoiding speculation, rumor, and misinformation is paramount to ensuring our message is clear and the information is correct. Had there been any belief that this situation presented a threat to students and staff upon their arrival to school, different action would have been taken.

As a parent and district resident, I recognize firsthand the concern and anxiety these types of situations can cause. I want to assure you that we take safety seriously and that we work proactively, and reactively when needed, to create a safe school environment. To that end, whenever we are faced with a situation such as this, we review our policies, procedures, and our responses to identify any areas upon which we can improve.

The uniqueness of each situation makes it necessary to examine fact-specific information that may result in different responses to situations that may appear, on the surface, identical. No two situations are alike. We do our best to respond to each situation in light of its specific circumstances. During and after situations such as these, we work closely with law enforcement and our BOCES Safety Office to best address any threats to our school community. This includes a post-incident, comprehensive review of our responses to ensure the actions we took were most appropriate at the time. Safety plans must evolve with the ever-changing nature of threats. While impossible to account for them all, we do our best to ensure our plans are written in a way that can guide us through each individual scenario.

The safety of our schools was and will always be at the forefront of our work. Creating an environment in which our students and staff are safe is essential to all we do. Thank you for your past, current, and future support of our district.

Dr. Brian K. Bellair
Superintendent of Schools"

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