Bristol schools beef up security following barrage of threats - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Bristol schools beef up security following barrage of bomb threats

Posted: Updated:
A photo from one of the threats at the Edgewood School at the end of last school year. (WFSB file photo) A photo from one of the threats at the Edgewood School at the end of last school year. (WFSB file photo)

School leaders in Bristol are beefing up security in their school system after what seemed like a neverending barrage of bomb threats before summer break.

High schools, middle schools and even elementary schools were evacuated last June. Students as young as 10 years old were arrested.

The city's first day of school was Thursday.

Parents said the memory of what happened last school year remains on their minds.

"What is your game plan?" asked Jayme Cyr, a parent. "I would be curious, what is your plan of action to get ahead of this so this doesn't occur again?"

School officials told Eyewitness News that they've made their buildings more secure and that they've been taking these threats very seriously.

They said it's clear that many of the threats were simply copycat pranks. However pranks or not, the children are facing criminal charges and undergoing expulsion hearings.

"People were watching out and they were watching out for each other," said Abigail Cyr, a tenth-grader.

Abigail Cyr and her mother Jayme Cyr said they were both hoping things went smoothly as Bristol students headed back to class on Thursday.

"I want my kids to be safe, and I want all the kids in the school to be safe," Jayme Cyr said.

Last year ended with a total of eight bomb threats over the course of two weeks. Two high schools, elementary and middle schools were evacuated.

"Obviously the schools have to take it seriously and evacuate," Jayme Cyr said. "Because you never know when they're crying wolf. The one time could be the crucial moment."

Two 10-year-old girls and a 13-year-old girl were accused of making the threats. They spent the summer dealing with criminal charges. Bristol's superintendent said they could be expelled.

"The message remains really strong," said Dr. Ellen Solek, superintendent, "that we have zero tolerance for that."

As children head back to class this year, school officials are working closely with Bristol police and going over security plans with all faculty and staff.

"There are some measures to better secure the front and rear entrances to all of the schools," Solek said, "a buzzer system so that everyone entering and exiting the building is monitored both in person and on camera. A lot of those things we already have in place, but we're adding some more this year as well."

Solek said there were also some additional cameras, other surveillance systems and some prevention measures in place.

Police said there are still two threats from last year that remain unsolved, both at Bristol Eastern High School.

One of them was scribbled on a piece of furniture, but there are no leads on a suspect. The other was called in through some sort of electronic device, but school leaders do not believe that one came from a student.

Solek said the bottom line was these scares were expensive for the town and state, and would not be tolerated.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.