Students at Baldwin Senior High School and Brookside Elementary were restricted to their buildings for around two hours on Jan. 18 after reports of a threatening message sent to the high school surfaced and then circulated within the school communities. The “shelter in place” order began around 11:10 a.m. and was lifted just after 1 p.m. when no dangerous activity occurred in the areas of the schools.
According to Cristina Schmohl, Baldwin School District spokeswoman, the threatening message suggested an unspecified destructive act would take place at BHS at 12:15 p.m. She said that several students reported the threat to the district via text messages.
“We called the police immediately, and we’re working with them now,” Schmohl said, adding that details of the specific type of threat sent to the school were being withheld for investigative purposes. Unsubstantiated reports from students in the area of the high school around noon held that the threat consisted of a handwritten message discovered in a locker room, but these suggestions could not be confirmed.
Schmohl clarified the meaning of “shelter in place,” saying that students were allowed to move around their schools and attend classes as usual, but that no one was permitted to enter or leave the school buildings. She said the buildings were not evacuated for fear that masses of students leaving the schools would increase the danger to students as the threat’s 12:15 deadline neared. A Blackboard Connect message was sent to district parents at 11:26 a.m. and contained basic information about the response to the threat and a promise of updates as events warranted.
Police were on the scene throughout the incident and encountered no threatening activity. The “shelter in place” order was lifted at around 1 p.m. and a Blackboard Connect message updating parents was sent out at around 1:10. In addition to updating parents about the lifting of the “shelter in place” order, the message said, “the police are completing their investigation and will continue to be a presence in the area until the end of the day.”
The Baldwin School District was not able to provide details regarding the nature of the threat as of this writing, but they hoped to receive more information from police soon.