According to Whitman Police Chief Scott D. Benton and Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch, police determined there was no credible threat against Whitman-Hanson Regional High School last week. Police investigated after an anonymous tip was received concerning a student that had been allegedly making threats to shoot a weapon in the school.
The situation came to light at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday, April 5, when another student left their name on the Whitman police tip line about a comment overheard through a third-party conversation.
“We were able to investigate and confirm the statements that were made — shutting down the threat,” said Lt. Casey of Hanson Police. “At no point and time were the students or the staff ever in danger. The situation was under control.”
Casey applauded the students for reporting their concerns to authorities “the incident was thoroughly investigated,” he said.
None of the juvenile students are being identified by authorities, although they are students at the high school.
“I want to assure everyone that the Whitman and Hanson police and fire have the first and utmost priority for the safety of our community, students and staff,” Casey added.
Hanson police said charges may still be pending against the student.
In a prepared joint press release Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth C. Gilbert-Whitner, said the student was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
“Principal Jeff Szymaniak and I would like to thank Chief Benton, Chief [Timothy] Grenno, Chief Miksch, Chief [Jerry] Thompson, and the Police and Fire departments in Whitman and Hanson for their support, assistance, and partnership,” said Gilbert-Whitner.
Extra police presence was provided by both towns at the school on Friday, out of an abundance of caution, according to the joint statement.
Chief Benton commended the student who demonstrated the courage to provide a tip through the anonymous tip line.
“Any comments about harming others will be treated with the utmost seriousness and vigilance. The safety of the students and our communities is our top priority,” said Benton. “I would also like to thank Superintendent Ruth C. Gilbert-Whitner and Principal Jeff Szymaniak for their assistance every step of the way with this situation.”
Chief Miksch said, “Detectives made quick work of locating and speaking with the suspect and were able to determine that there was no credibility to the threats.
“Great work by officers from both Hanson and Whitman in quickly resolving this issue,” he said. “We want to remind everyone that if they see or hear any suspicious activity to immediately report it to police.”
In an unrelated event, at 9:55 a.m. on Friday, the fire alarm sounded at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School and the school was evacuated.
It was determined that a trip switch on a sprinkler valve failed, causing the alarm to go off, according to the statement.