Monday, June 13, 2016

Collaborative Investigation and Continued Focus on Safety at Hazen Union After Anonymous Threat


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union
Hardwick, VT  
June 13, 2016

Collaborative Investigation and Continued Focus on Safety at Hazen Union After Anonymous Threat

Hazen Union Administrators, Superintendent LeBlanc, and Hardwick Police focus on student and staff safety while investigating an anonymous online threat.

Coordination and planning began Sunday afternoon after Hazen Union Administrators learned of an anonymous threat made through the “After School” social media app. A few Hazen students reported the post to Principal Michael Moriarty, which led to a series of proactive steps to secure the building Monday morning.

“Thanks to the Hardwick Police and through the cooperation of students and staff, Monday morning went smoothly. In an effort to ensure safety, all student bags were searched at the door. Nothing was found. An officer and police dog were present on school grounds today. The Hardwick Police will continue to work collaboratively with us on this investigation,” reported Superintendent Joanne LeBlanc.

Principal Michael Moriarty sent a phone message to parents and guardians at approximately 3:30 PM Monday confirming classes will be in session through Wednesday, the last school day of the year. In addition, all planned activities, field trips, and events will continue as planned. His message stated, “Every precaution will be made to ensure safety. We take all threats seriously and care about the safety and well being of everyone. Please take time to speak with your children about the impact social media has on our community.”

The message also stated that the building will remain locked and bag searches of every student entering the building will continue Tuesday and Wednesday morning. There will be increased supervision and increased police presence for the remainder of the school year.

Hazen Union staff attempted to contact the company that created the app in search of any information that might help identify the source of the threat, which can be difficult given the app is designed to allow anonymous posting. Detective Kevin Lehoe from the Hardwick Police Department spent several hours at Hazen on Monday as part of a collaborative, ongoing investigation. During a phone interview, Detective Lehoe stated, “The Hardwick Police Department will continue to maintain a presence at Hazen Union to assure students and faculty of their safety. This is an ongoing investigation, and we are unable to divulge detailed information at this time. We are in contact with the internet providers associated with this threat.”

Any information that may help the investigation should be sent to the Hardwick Police Department and Hazen Union. Questions related to Hazen Union’s schedule or activities through Wednesday, June 15th, should be directed to the Hazen Union main office at (802) 472-6511.