Chief Cloud confirms two GM threats are related No arrests made; 'persons of interest' questioned

Chester Fire Department trucks block off the entrance to Green Mountain High. Photo by Shawn Cunningham.

By Cynthia Prairie and
Shawn Cunningham
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Chester Police Chief Rick Cloud said Thursday evening that the bomb threat called in to Green Mountain High School that morning is indeed related to the social media threat made to a student and the school on Monday.

However, he did clarify that the caller on Thursday did not say he was the brother of Monday’s perpetrator, as was earlier reported following a press release from the supervisory union.

No arrests have been made, but police on Thursday evening were interviewing several “persons of interest,” some of whom are “from the area,” Cloud said. He said neither threat originated locally.

“As far as I know, this was not about anyone in our building,” said GM Principal Lauren Fierman who cautioned that the police continue to investigate.

“There are several people who might be involved and we are using several agencies to help,” Cloud said.

In Monday’s incident, the perpetrator was discovered to be from a midwestern state and the local police in that community continue to participate.

Cloud added that police on Thursday were taking “normal precautions” to a such a threat.

According to police, a man called into the school this morning before 11:30, saying he had placed a bomb in a bathroom and that if anyone made any attempt to evacuate the school, students would be shot.

Police and ambulance vehicles line the entrance to the school. Photo by Adam Woodell

Around 11:30 a.m., police locked down the classrooms and checked the bathrooms. They also scoured the outside of the building and the woods looking for a possible suspect.

Once it was determined that there were no bombs, police began evacuating the classrooms one by one. Students and teachers walked down to the American Legion, just west of the school on Route 103. Shortly thereafter, parents, who had been notified the students would be at the Legion, began arriving there.

Ron Farrar of the American Legion said that a Legion employee took the call from the school, then called other Legion members to open the hall to accommodate the 300+ students and teachers.

“Our students behaved very well, we plan and drill for these things and they did what they had to do,” said Fierman. “They did a beautiful job.”

At that point, Two Rivers Supervisory Union canceled classes for the rest of the day and released students to their parents.

By 12:35 p.m., students and teachers who had driven to school that morning were allowed to pick up their vehicles at the school parking lot and leave the premises. They were not, however, allowed to enter the building to retrieve their belongings.

After GM was evacuated, police spent a number of hours going through the building several times, and released the Chester Fire Department that had cordoned off the school at about 3:30 p.m.

Looking back on the day, Fierman said the procedures for evacuation were good, but she thought they would work on making the system for taking attendance a little speedier.

As for tomorrow, school will be open and there will be enhanced security at Green Mountain.

“There will be a police presence on our campus tomorrow, with dogs,” said Fierman, “I’m told by the state police that it’s a routine procedure. When you have an incident like this, the next day there will be police on hand.”

“We are completely confident that it’s safe,” said Fierman. “I know it’s upsetting, but we would not open our school if it wasn’t safe.”

Among the agencies that assisted with the incident in addition to the Chester Police were the Vermont State Police, Springfield Police and Fire Departments. Chief Cloud told The Telegraph that he was not completely certain how many agencies had responded.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 30 years. She has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. Manuella Eastman says:

    I agree that threats like this should be severely punished. It is NOT a joke or funny in any way. Prosecute these delinquents as adults!

  2. Teresa Volta says:

    IMHO, acts like this should be treated as domestic terrorism, with severe consequences for those convicted.

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