Windham High School dismisses early due to reported ‘firearm incident’
WILLIMANTIC, CT (WFSB) - Windham High School dismissed early as a result of a reported firearm investigation.
The school was in lockdown for hours.
Someone called the police saying there was an armed intruder inside the high school.
Eastern Connecticut State also ordered everyone on campus to shelter in place because of the threat.
Police said they never found a gun or any weapon in the school.
Students and teachers were still very shaken up. Some were even seen crying outside.
Everyone in the high school was sent home early.
Parents are relieved everyone’s okay.
“I’m very nervous until I see him in my hands I’m not going to be ok,” said Luz Quinones, a parent.
Many parents were not okay until the embrace.
Students said they could see teachers start to panic.
The fear in the voice of our principal and we shut down the lights and closed our blinds and went to our corner,” said Emiliano Gutierrez, a junior at Windham High.
Eastern Connecticut State, which is right across the street, ordered students and staff to shelter in place.
“I was stuck in there for over two and a half hours,” said John O’Connell, a junior at Eastern.
Willimantic police rushed over and searched the high school. They said the threat wasn’t credible and no one was in danger.
“Considering the heightened level of anxiety building-wide, I determined that dismissing Windham High School early was prudent,” said Windham Superintendent Tracy Youngberg.
Students were sent home at 10:30 a.m. Many of them were extremely shaken up.
“We didn’t know what was going on. Then there comes social media there’s guns in the school there’s an active shooter. And all these rumors so it got scarier,” said Nineliez Aguilar, senior at Windham High.
It was scary for Eastern junior John O’Connell, who is from Sandy Hook and was 10 during the deadly shooting.
“It was very reminiscent of that experience of sitting in the room with no idea of what’s really going on,” said O’Connell.
There has been a recent rash in school threats happening all over the state.
There were incidents at Windham and Manchester high schools Wednesday.
This follows three more vague threats made last week in Southington, Watertown and Plymouth.
Parents are fed up with all these threats.
It’s tough because you have to take each one seriously, like it’s real and credible. It effects the kids, teachers and parents.
Now the FBI is sending out a national warning about swatting.
There have been several school threats made in Connecticut just this week.
Bomb threats were made Tuesday at Kennedy High in Waterbury and E.O. Smith High in Storrs.
Wednesday, a bomb threat at Manchester High.
There have also been swatting incidents recently effecting Southington, Watertown and Plymouth schools.
It’s been happening so much, that some students aren’t shocked.
“Especially nowadays it didn’t even surprise me, cause you hear crazy stuff,” said O’Connell.
The FBI is sending a national warning to schools about swatting, saying it’s where a report of an active shooter in a school is made. The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts people at risk.
Police will be back at Windham High School Thursday just to be safe.
Students will be able to speak to professionals about Wednesday’s threat if they need to.
“Windham High School [dismissed] early [Wednesday],” said superintendent Tracy Youngberg. “The police department [safely escorted] all Windham High School students off campus. All other Windham Public Schools [remained] sheltered in place until further notice. This [was] at the direction of the police. We know you are concerned and we will provide updates as soon as possible. Please be assured that we are taking all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of all students.”
Eastern Connecticut State University said it canceled classes during its own shelter in place order. It was the first to report that it was all “due to an active firearm incident at Windham High School.”
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