Lock down, evacuation at Green Mountain Parent, student tell of harrowing morning

Students walk away from Green Mountain High School along Route 103 this morning after someone called in a bomb threat. All photos by Shawn Cunningham.

By Shawn Cunningham and Cynthia Prairie
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Here are links to the latest stories on the school lockdown.

– When a child’s text message of love is ominous

– Chief Cloud confirms two GM threats are related

Green Mountain High School was evacuated early on Thursday after the school received a  telephone threat from someone claiming to be the brother of person who threatened a student and the school on social media on Monday.

GM students walk together down to the American Legion.

That man said that he had placed a bomb in a bathroom and that if an attempt to evacuate the school was made, students would be shot, according to Meg Powden, superintendent of Two Rivers Supervisory Union.

Around 11:30 a.m., police locked down the classrooms and checked the bathrooms.

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, where parents were gathering.

The school day was over, TRSU decided.

By 12:35 p.m., students and teachers who drove to school 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 get any belongings.

It is unknown if Thursday’s situation is related to one that happened on Monday, where a student and the school at large was threatened on social media. That threat prompted a police presence at the school on Tuesday, although many parents decided to keep their children home.

By 3:15 p.m., Chester Police were still on the scene and no one was allowed on school premises.

When a child’s text message of love is ominous

An armed police detail stands outside the American Legion.

Parent Heidi Skinner was at her computer researching colleges for her 18-year-old daughter Camille when a text message came in from her 14-year-old son Isaiah. Besides Camille and Isaiah, Skinner has another child at GM, 12-year-old Hannah.

It was 11:27 a.m. and Isaiah wrote, “I love you.” Calling the message “random” and “weird,” she immediately thought, “what’s wrong?” and texted Isaiah back, asking him if he was OK. She said he wrote back quickly that the school was in lock down and he “didn’t think it was a drill.” She added that Isaiah wrote that they were told they could not make cell phone calls because of the possibility of remotely detonating a bomb.

In an interview, Isaiah said the lock down was announced over the PA by Administrative Secretary Kelly Goodrich. “Go into lock down. Now.” He said by the sound of her voice, he guessed it wasn’t just a drill.

Hugs from parents as they pick up their children from the American Legion.

At 11:30, Skinner got a text from Camille, assuring her mom that she was fine. “Just wanted to tell you I’m OK.”

Hannah and Isaiah were together in the band room, squeezing into a small office with 20 others, Camille in another room having lunch with friends.

After about 30 minutes, Isaiah said, police officers dressed in SWAT gear came by to escort them down to the American Legion. He said he saw Chester Police Chief Rick Cloud in the main hallway, state troopers at each door, Weathersfield and Springfield Police in the parking lot loading shotguns as well as bomb sniffing dogs.

Once at the American Legion, students had to find their teachers and attendance was taken to ensure that no one was missing.  Isaiah said that parents were lining up at the door and children were paired up with them. “Mom … gave me a big hug,” he  said, adding that “everyone was shaken up, but there were not a lot of people crying.” He also noted the quick police action, saying, “I never thought that they police would have that quick of a response in that situation.”

Several hours after she picked up her children, Skinner said she was still shaken. She also said that her 12-year-old — Hannah — doesn’t have a phone. “But I think I’m going to fix that,” she said. “I’ll get her one without service so that she can message.”

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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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