After school shelter-in-place scare, no ‘immediate threat’ found

Enterprise file photo — Sean Mulkerrin

Voorheesville Superintendent Frank Macri has been on the job for about a month. 

NEW SCOTLAND — A “message of a threatening nature” found written on a mirror in a girls’ bathroom at Voorheesville’s middle and high school campus on Monday provoked a call to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and a two-hour shelter-in-place order, but it was ultimately determined that there was “no immediate threat to students and staff,” the district said in a message sent to parents. 

Two students found the message and brought it to the attention of the administration, Inspector J.T. Campbell of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, told The Enterprise. Soon after, students and teachers were told to stay in their classrooms while learning continued, which lasted from about 7:49 a.m. to 10 a.m., Campbell said. 

Dogs trained specifically to sniff out weapons and explosives were brought for a sweep of the two adjoining schools, Campbell said, which turned up nothing.

Superintendent Frank Macri, who is finishing up his first month on the job, said that, after the message was found, the district successfully followed the safety protocols it has in place for such events.

“My number-one goal is treat everything as serious as humanly possible and then go down from there”; safety is a priority, he said, as is using “an overabundance of care,” he said. 

Asked what the threatening message had said, Macri wouldn’t divulge that information.

Asked if the dogs were brought in as a direct response to the message written on the mirror of the girls’ bathroom, Macri said that the dogs were brought in “out of an overabundance amount of care.”

“Did I need to bring the dogs in?” he asked, before answering, “No.”

But, if it’s a case where he can allay all concerns by assuring people that there isn’t something illicit in the building, then, he said, “Yes, I absolutely will [bring in the dogs].”

After what happened on Monday, Macri said, students in grades six through eight got together and discussed the incident, while the high school principal got on the public-address system and described a little bit of what transpired. 

The last time Voorheesville schools had to deal with a somewhat-similar issue was in June 2018, when an already-suspended Voorheesville middle-school student got in trouble again for social-media posts that depicted hatred of homosexuals. The incident prompted the Voorheesville School District to ask the Albany County Sheriff’s Office for an increased presence at its schools, which, in turn, led the sheriff’s office to post a full-time deputy on-site for the remainder of the 2018 school year. 

Asked if the Jan. 13 episode is sparking similar worries, Macri said, compared to June 2018, Monday’s incident wasn’t a cause for concern, reiterating the point that the way events unfolded on Monday were due in part to “an overabundance of care.” 

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