MASSENA — The Massena Central School District had a large police presence on Monday following the receipt of what Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said was a threatening message posted on social media Sunday night.
He said the report did not appear to be widespread.
“When I spoke to the Massena Police Department late last night they reported that no such reports had come in from students in other school districts per the NYS Police and SLC Sheriffs. I did send the information to the regional superintendents and none are reporting that such a message was received in their communities,” Mr. Brady wrote in an email Monday.
He said the “vague message” was not received by the district, but rather directly through students on Snapchat.
“The message did not include any date, the type of threat, or any particular school or school district. It appears consistent with the type of swatting messages schools in our region and around the country have been experiencing in recent months. Regardless, the District has a police presence at our schools today as we take any such messages seriously. I want to thank the Massena Police Department for their prompt support in helping us deal with the situation,” he wrote.
The Massena Police Department is handling the investigation into the threat, Police Chief Jason M. Olson said.
Mr. Brady alerted families to the police presence in an email Monday morning.
“We want to make you aware that law enforcement is investigating a threatening message that was reportedly circulated on Snap Chat last evening,” he wrote. “The message is vague in nature and does not state the type of threat or any particular school or district.”
Mr. Brady thanked the parents who brought the threat to the attention of law enforcement and school officials.
“If anyone has further information to share that might support the investigation please contact me or the Massena Police Department,” he wrote.
Similar situations took place last month. Nine school district in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties had either closed for the day or opened late after receiving threats of violence. The threats were among several reported throughout upstate New York, including in the Albany area.
The St. Lawrence County school districts of Canton, Edwards-Knox, Gouverneur, Hermon-DeKalb, Madrid-Waddington, Massena, Lisbon and Morristown initially delayed opening after receiving threats in April. Massena, Madrid-Waddington, Canton and Lisbon later canceled school altogether.
In Jefferson County, General Brown Central School District received an emailed threat.
Police describe “swatting” as contacting law enforcement agencies with false reports of criminal activity or, in these cases, fake threats of bombs or shooters at schools. Making threats that illicit a heavy police response is called swatting because they can lead to a response from heavily armed SWAT teams.
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