Students released early at 2 Bristol schools after threatening p - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Students released early at 2 Bristol schools after threatening phone call

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South Side School was placed in lockdown. (WFSB) South Side School was placed in lockdown. (WFSB)
Cops leaving Bristol central School. (WFSB) Cops leaving Bristol central School. (WFSB)
Extra officers are on scene at South Side in Bristol. (WFSB) Extra officers are on scene at South Side in Bristol. (WFSB)
BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) -

Two schools in Bristol were in lockdown on Tuesday afternoon after a threatening phone call, according to the mayor's office.

Students at Bristol Central High and South Side Elementary schools were released early, according to the mayor's office. All evening activities have been canceled throughout the school district.

Bristol Central High and South Side schools are the only schools that dismissed early. The administration said an early dismissal was a precaution.

Police said the threat received at Bristol Central referred to a person with a gun on school grounds. The threat made at South Side Elementary was in reference to a bomb at the school.

Both schools were searched and nothing was found.

Police said at this time there appears to be no validity to the threats.

As police were responding to the schools, family members said they weren't notified at all.

"I was driving to work and saw the cops and buses here so I came and got him. There were rumors there was an active shooter. There was a bomb threat," said Elizabeth Archer, of Bristol, who picked her brother up from school.

Parents said they didn't get the robo call sent from the superintendent's office until 2 p.m. The call said in part "at approximately 12:45 today we received two separate phone-in threats."

"My mother texted me and told me that she heard that two Bristol schools were on lockdown and I should get over there soon and see what was going on...and it was pretty much chaos," said parent Jessica Pellrin. 

The Bristol superintendent of schools said the "safety and security of students and staff is and remains a top priority." The superintendent said at no time were any students or staff members in an unsafe situation, and the district continues to work with police to resolve the situation.

Schools in other towns, including West Haven, Stamford and Hartford also received threatening phone calls on Tuesday.

Police in all towns are working together to investigate if there is a connection.

No injuries were reported in any of these incidents.

Connecticut State Senator Tony Hwang is proposing stronger state penalties for threats of violence against schools.

"That will punish the people who choose to frighten our teachers, our students and our parents. That will never allow that and punish you to the highest ability of the law," Hwang said. 

He introduced the bill last session and is trying it again. The proposed charge is if someone got caught, it would be a felony, up from a misdemeanor.

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