By Michael Bielawski
On Friday there was a police presence at Twinfield Union School in Marshfield, a K-12 school that also takes students in Plainfield. The reason was a threatening email was received, details include threats of a school shooting.
KVS interviewed its acting superintendent Anne Landry on Friday afternoon shortly before dismissal.
“We are working closely with the State Police and following our school safety protocols,” she said. She added that they “will have an increased police presence” for the time being.
She said that during class transfers throughout the day, the police would escort the children to ensure their safety.
She also said, “I was at the school this morning and met with the principal there. … They are being a calm supportive presence for the students and the staff.”
The police report stated the following.
“The Vermont State Police are investigating a report of a threatening e-mail targeting Twinfield Union School in Plainfield. Just after [8 AM] on Thursday September 28, 2023, Vermont State Police were notified that during the overnight hours, an unknown individual had sent an e-mail to a faculty member of the school. The e-mail, which was discovered shortly before the report was made, referenced a shooting at the school to be carried out at a future date.”
No action was observed when police showed up at the school. The report continues,
“The Vermont State Police takes all reports of school threats seriously and Troopers from the Berlin Field Station responded to the school. Upon arrival, nothing was found to be amiss and Troopers coordinated with school officials. The school remained open with modified operations. Troopers maintained a presence at the school for most of the day and no further incidents occurred.”
Landry said that she met with State Police (the Washington County Sheriff’s Department) that morning but “they are still investigating” and further details will come forth as that continues.
Landry also said that the school does participate in the “ALICE” (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) protocols, which ask students to consider fight-or-flight type decisions in such an emergency.
She says the school has done a walkthrough of the protocols with students but none of that was implemented during this threat.
When asked if the school was considering the hiring of an SRO (School Resource Officer) she said “not at this time.” She added, “That’s a larger discussion that the school board would need to have.”
True North Reports has reported the state has proposed bills both to require and also to ban the use of armed officers on school campuses. The liberal politicians generally supported the ban while conservatives generally supported the requirement. Gov. Phil Scott supported leaving it to local school boards to determine their policy.
In some cases, schools that chose to ban the use of armed officers on their campus ended up seeing threats to their campus. TNR again reported on such.
“Both school districts of the two Vermont high schools subjected to recent alleged school shooter threats have opted within the last two years to not have a school resource officer on the school premises,” journalist Guy Page wrote in May of 2022.
SROs have prevented shootings. According to the National Association of School Resource Officers, one success story occurred in Florida during August of 2022.
“The new school resource officer recognized the weight and shape of a handgun through a teen’s jacket pocket,” the report states. “The 17-year-old boy had his hand poised over the pocket as he stood in a school office while two administrators attempted to search him for marijuana that February day in 2021.”
The report continues that a shooting was determined likely to occur but the SRO was able to be the difference.
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle