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‘Swatting Incident’ Leads To Thorough Check Of Sandy Hook School



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Newtown Police are classifying as a “swatting incident” a threat phoned in through the 988 suicide hotline against Sandy Hook School one morning last week.

Local police were dispatched to the Dickinson Drive school at approximately 9:15 am November 30 following the threat.

According to a release from Superintendent of Schools Chris Melillo, the school initially went into lockdown mode, and police began searching the building soon after. The status was quickly changed to Safe School Mode. The building was cleared by 11 am.

Swatting is the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.

The superintendent alerted parents through phone systems and email that staff and students were safe, and that “a short time ago the Newtown Police Department received a threatening message which made reference to Sandy Hook School. As a precaution Sandy Hook School is placed in safe school mode, which means that no one is allowed in the building or out of the building until the investigation is completed. ... [police] are currently at Sandy Hook School conducting an investigation.”

The message to parents also indicated no other buildings were impacted.

By early Thursday afternoon Newtown Police Department also issued a release, stating, “The Newtown Police Department would like to reassure our community again that all students and staff are safe and there is no credible threat to any Newtown schools at this time.

“We are actively investigating an incident this morning regarding a third party threat toward Sandy Hook School with help from our partners in federal law enforcement,” the statement continued. “At this time, we would like the public to be aware of the following information.”

The release also noted police “quickly determined that all students and staff were safe and that the threat was not credible; but instead was similar to the ‘swatting’ incidents we often investigate.”

Out of an abundance of caution, Newtown Police stated they “performed a thorough check of the school and area surrounding the school to ensure that nothing suspicious or out of the ordinary had occurred.”

“We would like to thank our Officers and Board of Education staff for their quick action and consistent professionalism in acting on our Emergency procedures,” stated the release.


Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

A Newtown Police Department cruiser is parked at the top of the Sandy Hook School driveway the morning of November 30. Local police responded to the school following a threat by an individual the department now believes was “swatting” the department. —Bee Photo, Taylor
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