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June 15, 2013

Threats reported at two schools

Walton to add police through end of year

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Schools in Walton and Downsville dealt with alleged Facebook threats Friday, but no incidents were reported.

A threat received by a Walton Central School District resident Thursday night prompted the district to take precautions Friday that will continue to the end of the school year, interim Superintendent George Mack said.

There have been a string of similar threats since May, and a variety of fictitious names have been used, police previously said.

On Friday one, none of the school buildings were identified nor was the school specifically mentioned, but precautions were taken because of the message — warning that something harmful to children would be placed in a backpack — was sent to a Walton resident, Mack said. He did not want to be more specific.

A message was sent to district families about the incident Thursday evening. Mack said the lockout at the elementary school, which was in place during similar incidents that began last month, will continue. The middle and high school were out Friday because of finals and Regents testing.

Because the nature of this threat, students in grades K-12 were asked not to bring bags of any kind to school, and any necessary bags should be clear. All bags were searched, and there was additional police presence, which will continue until the end of the school year June 20, Mack said.

This and the earlier unsolved incidents are still under investigation by the Walton police, Mack said. Information about the incidents has been sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but he said he was not sure of their level of involvement.

A call to Walton police for comment on the investigations was not returned.

Downsville Central School responded Friday at 11:30 a.m. after two parents alerted the school that students had received messages indicating there could be a shooting at the school, Interim Superintendent Charlotte Gregory said.

“It was not a direct threat,” she said, “but we took precautionary measures.”

This included a lockout and contacting state police. Besides extra police presence and a controlled dismissal at the regular time, the day proceeded normally. She saw no reason for the the last day of elementary classes on Monday to be affected.

State police at Binghamton Sgt. Salvatore Indelicato said five troopers, from the Deposit and Margaretville barracks, and two Department of Environmental police assisted at the school Friday. The investigation is continuing, but he could not yet say whether the two incidents are related.