Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bomb Threat ARHS

 Principal Mark Jackson (rt) conferring with AFD Assistant Chief Don McKay and  APD detective bureau chief Ron Young



AFD Engine 1 and ambulance on scene

UPDATE: 3:20 pm  

"All APD units clear from the High School."


UPDATE: 2:35 pm

Assistant Chief McKay and Engine 1 have cleared the scene, terminating command after using four teams of searchers to sweep the building. So that's a good sign!  MSP K9 units are still on the scene doing a secondary search.


UPDATE:  1:40 pm
Police and Fire personnel are going to do a primary search of every single room in the Amherst Regional High School to look for a reported bomb after a threat was phoned in around 12:20 pm.

About a dozen public safety personnel will be involved, breaking up into smaller groups for more efficiency, as well as High School Principal Mark Jackson and the person who knows the school best -- a janitor.

Massachusetts State Police K9 unit is enroute and the dog will do a secondary search.








Original Post:
Swarms of High School students cross over to the Middle School under watchful eye of APD


Public safety personnel are on scene at the Amherst Regional High School in great numbers searching the building for a bomb.  A threat was phoned in around 12:20 pm and authorities are taking is seriously.

At first the school went into immediate "lockdown," but then after conferring with APD decided to evacuate the building and walk down the access road to the Middle School.

APD detective was first on the scene

Everyone is safe and school officials do not want parents coming to either school. 

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh for Christ's sake, not another lockdown, this is getting ridiculous. Are they going to have a lockdown every time someone has a headache over there?

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who used to worked in law enforcement who wondered about the wisdom of telling all the parents (and the world) where the kids were evacuated to, just in case this threat was aimed at particular people.

Anonymous said...

Lockdown for a bomb threat?

Are you serious?

Anonymous said...

This is what $100k+ salaries get you...complacency

Anonymous said...

So Anon 117, 130, 145 and 202 how would you deal with a bomb threat? Carry on as though nothing unusual had happened today?
So glad none of you are in charge at the high school.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:21...
and you have total confidence in our high school & district administrators?

Anonymous said...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/11/12/multiple-mass-schools-receive-near-simultaneous-bomb-threats/wqaNaCargXXKuyhCratYKI/story.html?p1=trending_article_page_1

Anonymous said...

Yes I do have confidence in our administrators? I have no confidence in the ability of people on this blog to act like mature adults.

Anonymous said...

"...the wisdom of telling all the parents (and the world) where the kids were evacuated to...

Particularly if this was a "probe" -- a "dry run" of sorts.

So know the perps know the SOP -- and put the *real* bomb in the Junior High and have even more deadly results.

If this is what I fear it might have been, no, I don't have confidence in the administration.

petervickery said...

Time to transfer large amounts of OPM to a self-certified expert in Social Justice and Bomb Threat Studies, ideally one who specializes in re-traumatizing.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who used to worked in law enforcement who wondered about the wisdom of telling all the parents (and the world) where the kids were evacuated to, just in case this threat was aimed at particular people.

You calling out our cops, buddy? The lockdown and the evac to the MS is their protocol the schools followed after the threat! You got something against the APD, pal?? Stand down, civilian!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kurt it's pretty obvious when you post. Why not just use your real name?

Anonymous said...

A "lockdown" for a bomb threat?

Seriously?

I always thought the first thing you did was get the children away from the threat, not lock them in a cage with it...

Anonymous said...

It's one thing to bash people when you don't like the way they oversee a school'S curriculum or disciplinary code. But I really don't understand how any sane person has an argument with keeping kids safe. God help us if the day comes when a bomb is found. Every school and public building has protocols to follow in many safety situations. And I'm damn glad you don't do any of those jobs either.

Anonymous said...

Anybody with half a brain knows you have to evacuate the building when there's a bomb threat.

Consider the quality of what you've read here over the years on the comments page before you take any of the second-guessing of that decision seriously.

My sympathies this time are with the teachers and the principal who must be getting very weary. We have the accompanying bizarre situation of Ms. Gardner's posse thinking that they now have leverage with our school system to enter into negotiations, now that they've filed a ridiculous MCAD complaint.

Weary, weary, weary of this shit.

Anonymous said...

I am also very weary of this stuff. I think the entire town is. I just wish she would go away already. The MCAD complaint is ridiculous and will be thrown out. Eventually. But until that happens the town will have to put up again with months of disruption at SC meetings and ranting about racism. It's enough to make me want to move to a saner community.

Anonymous said...

Ditto, 6:40 pm. I am sick of the "posse" co-opting school committee meetings and turning them into a circus with a willing ringmaster. When is all this going to stop so the administration and teachers can get back to the work of educating students?

Dr. Ed said...

"Anybody with half a brain knows you have to evacuate the building when there's a bomb threat."

Agreed.

That's why I found what Larry reported to be disturbing. He wrote:

"At first the school went into immediate "lockdown," but then after conferring with APD decided to evacuate the building and walk down the access road to the Middle School.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?!

"Anybody with half a brain knows you have to evacuate the building when there's a bomb threat."


So, like, ummm????

"My sympathies this time are with the teachers and the principal who must be getting very weary."

Mine too, but I hope the hell they are alert because this seems a s-load more serious than just the routine stuff.

Four other high schools in Massachusetts and seven more bomb threats in New Jersey -- all about the same time -- today?!?!?

See: http://www.northjersey.com/news/7-bomb-threats-made-against-4-bergen-county-high-schools-other-public-buildings-1.1131879

This is one hell of a coincidence if it is not all related -- and Globe is saying *at least* five MA schools -- and is attributing your photo Larry.
See:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/11/12/multiple-mass-schools-receive-near-simultaneous-bomb-threats/wqaNaCargXXKuyhCratYKI/story.html

"We have the accompanying bizarre situation of Ms. Gardner's posse thinking that they now have leverage with our school system to enter into negotiations, now that they've filed a ridiculous MCAD complaint."

Agreed. But never forget that this is the MCAD...

"Weary, weary, weary of this shit."

Agreed. Seriously.

But I fear that today's bomb threat was shit of a vastly different kind. And while "lockdown" may be an effective solution for the one crazed gunman, it could exacerbate fatalities in a variety of other situations. Badly exacerbate them...

Anonymous said...

Five schools at once. Terrorism? Possible.

Nina Koch said...

Thanks for your comment, 4:42 pm. Obviously, school officials are following procedures that were developed in conjunction with the town's public safety leaders.

Anonymous said...

More sane communities would be easy to find. Just look for one which hasn't a ridiculous ban on West Side Story.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:02,
funny that your statement of support for the administration included a question mark at the end. how sure are you really?

Anonymous said...

It's been said that schools are actually the safest places for our children--I can only pray this to be true--but 5 schools in Massachusetts at the same time and more in New Jersey--is this a warning--and where are our security experts to figure it out?
:(

keithw said...

Anon 9:54

Any experts who are not LE, specifically state police, are told to go screw. I sure was.

Police don't want any "outsiders"--least of all parents--involved in any security matters/measures pertaining to schools. Period. End of story.

I think that should be pretty evident based on how the admin asked parents not to pick their kids up at ARMS.

This should be alarming to parents. It certainly is to me.

Ever read Day of Wrath?

An actual parent of an actual child said...

Jesus.

As a PARENT, I was perfectly happy with the schools response. I was glad they evacuated.

I am glad they did what the police etc. told them to do.

Really, if you are not a parent of a school child, just kindly hold our random, negative thoughts.

If you are not getting the direct scoop home from your kid everyday, you have NO idea what's going on.

And it's really not helpful all the mindless piling on over nothing.

Get another "friggan" hobby.

Anonymous said...

And it's standard operating procedure not to want hundreds of civilian vehicles converging on a safety/law enforcement situation. Not a *plot*...get your foil hat back on for all our sakes.

Anonymous said...

Post Columbine- there are recommendations out there that are in place for bomb threats- None of us know what the specific wording of the threat was. Maybe they specified entrances/exits, there are reasons why they go into lockdown. think about this- a bomb threat gets phoned in resulting in a mass evacuation- as kids exit, they could be attacked from the outside by people waiting with gunfire or whatever the case may be. It's better to stay in one place, have perimeters checked, and once deemed safe, evacuate the kids to another safe place. With school security these days its harder for people to just walk in, so if your a bad guy(or girl) and want to have as many targets as possible, is it easier to try and get into the school, or have the school come to you. ? I believe lockdown until the immediate perimeter is secured was the right call.

keithw said...

Actual parent of an actual child

You're a sheep who clearly does well without oxygen, as your head seemingly passes from under the sand to the inside of your rectum quite rapidly...and easily.

Actual Parent said...


Kiethw,

As we all know, not being civil almost always derails any rational exchange.

Which I'm sure was your intention, because when you resort to name calling, it indicates you've lost the argument.

Plus, it reveals your lack of personal endowment for all the world to see, so you might want to watch that.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how kiethw would have responded had a bomb threat came in and he was in charge of the thousand kids or so in the building. kiethw, what steps would you have taken?

keithw said...

Actual parent,

Yeah, sure. And as we all know, taking the moral high ground is almost always a tactic of those who no longer have anything relevant to add to an argument, in a vain attempt to divert the topic away from its root and gain some type of favor from an audience.

There will be no rational exchange between myself and a SHEEP who has no problem with their child being inaccessible to them during an emergency.

You're more interested in trying (and obviously failing) to win an argument than understanding how little control you have over your life...

So you might want to watch THAT.

keithw said...

Anon 9:39

Are you a parent of a student attending the school?

Actual Parent said...

"Anonymous said...
I'd like to know how kiethw would have responded had a bomb threat came in and he was in charge of the thousand kids or so in the building. kiethw, what steps would you have taken?"


kiethw?


kiethw?


kiethw?


Hello? Anything?


Nope?


Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Keithw who says he's not anonymous and we all know who he is?

Well, I'd like to know so I don't inadvertently elect him to something.

keithw said...

Actual parent...

Patience is a virtue.

If you use your REAL NAME and ask me nicely, I'll answer that question. Keep on jumping the gun and I'll have to charge you a consulting fee.

Dr. Ed said...

Ever read Day of Wrath?

What do you think I was alluding to?

Actual Parent said...




Keithw, sweetums,

When it'a Actual Parent, it'll SAY Actual Parent. I'm not the only one to whom it's evident you're behaving like a buffoon...

Anonymous said...

You guys are almost as bad as Kurt.

keithw said...

Actual parent

"When you resort to name calling, it indicates you've lost the argument" isn't that what you said??

I'd be happy to discuss THE TOPIC OF THIS BLOG with you, or anybody. But again, like I said...you, no longer have anything relevant to add.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kieth, why not evacuate? I am curious.

WHAT IF they did not evacuate? Then BOOM! You would be the first to file suit…is in not really about the safety of the kids? I would far rather have my kids evacuated for no reason than to play Russian Roulette and cross my fingers. Thats just me though.

keithw said...

I never suggested that they shouldn't have evacuated.

My main complaint is (and has always been) the lack of training and preparedness that schools possess; especially when faced with a crisis. Additionally, the lack of emphasis on the importance of preparedness and training for a crisis has created a culture of ignorance that plagues administrations with complacency--who in turn feed BS to feeble minded parents like @Actual Parent, who not only take it as gospel, but speak the word of the gospel as well and ridicule anyone that disagrees and labels them as conspiracy theorists.

The lack of preparation is apparent. And when concurrent bomb threats happen in multiple locations across multiple states all at about the same time...then something is not right.

If after hearing that report yesterday, the hair didn't stand up on the back of people's necks, then something is not right with them either.

Dr. Ed said...

When I was in high school, if I were locked in a classroom during a bomb threat, there'd been a chair through the nearest window with me following it.

Never forget that those who followed the rules at Virginia Tech DIED while those who didn't either lived or enabled others to live.

I'd been out a window or up in a ventilation duct. Trust me...

Nina Koch said...

Keith,

Can you please specify what you saw in this particular situation that indicated a lack of preparedness?

We do have trainings at the school and we have drills with the students. In fact, the public safety officials were impressed with how quickly we evacuated the building, how orderly it was, and how thoroughly we removed all bags from rooms.

We did what the police advised us to do and we did it well. What exactly should we have done differently in this situation?

keithw said...

Nina,

First off, I'm glad that no real danger existed in that particular incident and that everyone is safe. I'm also glad you feel the school is up to snuff on preparedness and that public safety officials were impressed.

Although public safety may very well fall into the lane of LE, the safety of your school falls squarely on the shoulders of YOU and your fellow staff, admin and students as well, until "the cavalry" arrives.

Your above comment makes evident the tremendous amount of reliance the school has on outside resources when it comes to safety and security, and frighteningly, the tremendous lack of self-reliance.

Larry has shown via past blogs just how strained public safety is now.

So now I'll ask you to answer your own question: What exactly should we have done differently in this situation?

And finally I'll ask you this: Do you honestly feel that your school has prepared itself to realistically deal with what someday might actually be a direct and deadly threat?

If you give that some HONEST thought, you ought to be quaking in your boots instead of hi-fiving each other over there.


Anonymous said...

keith.
I have a question for you. Just how much do you know about the procedures and the actual level of preparedness of the schools? Not generally and not what you think you know. Do you have and direct knowledge of the exact protocols that are in place to meet a variety of situations?

Anonymous said...

Nice deflection there, keithw.

keithw said...

Anon 9:37

If this were an interview for a job & you were an employer, or a deposition and you were a lawyer--then I'd be happy to share with you my direct knowledge on this topic.

But this is a blog...and you are a CAN so I'm afraid you're shit outta luck.

Perhaps, again, these questions can be asked of the people who are directly responsible for the safety of school children 200+ days of the year?

Anonymous said...

Love the way keith dodges legitimate questions. He spouts derision for the preparedness plans of the school system and then when someone asks him what he bases his comments on he totally dodges the question.
It's time to start ignoring this jerk like we should all be ignoring Ed. Don't engage with the jerks who refuse to engage with us.

Actual Parent said...

Yup, Keithw has NO actual information or answers.

He is a troll, trying to cause trouble and rile people up with out any actual knowledge or constructive suggestions.

Every time someone asks him a question, he avoids it, every time someone challenges his baseless statements he gets PO'd and insults them.

Don't waste your time........

keithw said...

Hmmm.

I have a couple of questions myself:

Should similar, if not identical procedural measures be taken by staff during a bomb threat as is taken during a fire? Especially since consequences--in terms of loss of life--are so similar? And since ARHS's response to the bomb threat was to go into lockdown, does that mean that when the NEXT fire occurs at ARHS, the school will go into lockdown as well?

Which of these 2 procedures at any school happen more frequently, and which of them are staff and students more familiar with… a Lockdown or dismissal? And which one of those 2 procedures--during an actual bombing--would lead to less loss of life in terms of dissipating targets as opposed to consolidating them into one small building? And which of these reunites children with their parents quicker?

Do you have a crisis team? Do they train every week? Do they have experience responding to crises? What kinds of training and experience do they have? Do they manage crises on a regular basis? Do they debrief with admin following a crisis? Once a threat has been issued, how quickly does your crisis team assemble & start making important decisions? Do they have Com devices? Codes for those devices in case they are being surveilled? How dynamic is the team? How predictable? How do they determine when standard protocol has been rendered useless? What's their contingency plan for if every building in the surrounding area is threatened? What's their plan--during an event--if police create a perimeter that is far from the school? Etc. Etc.

I could continue, but obviously there are more questions than answers. You 2 anon's can kiss my qualified ass.

Anonymous said...

Clearly keith doesn't know a thing about the protocols. Imagine my surprise.
BTW keith you are as anonymous as the next guy. CAN keith.

Larry Kelley said...

I actually know Keith quite well.

In fact I was sitting next to his Dad at a public meeting Wednesday night.

Anonymous said...

Keith W-
Once again- Lockdown is appropriate for a bomb threat until the perimeter is checked and secured by public safety. Once secured, the school can be evacuated safely and orderly. An immediate evacuation may seem logical, however if this were a true threat, when the kids evacuate, then they are throwing themselves in harms way by running right out into the open where criminals could be waiting to attack. Some schools in the state didn't even evacuate- They sheltered in place, and the school was searched with students still in session. There are trainings regularly with police, fire and school admins where they go over different scenarios and appropriate responses. All the admin problems aside, I feel the schools indeed have a proper response to emergent situations. Instead of bickering, be thankful the system worked, our kids are safe, and lets move on to the next topic to disagree on.

Sincerely,
Knowmore Than You

Anonymous said...

Glad to know you know him Larry but to the rest of us he is anon.
He wants to stop being Anon he should use his full name. I don't care one way or another but he can't pretend he's so pure. He's as much a CAN to me as I am to him.
I'm sure his dad must be proud of what a fine example of a jerk he raised.

keithw said...

Know more than you,

Once you're done blowing the dust off of your BS plan that's stapled to the wall in a red folder...

YOU be thankful....that nothing actually happened this time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Keith,

We don't need your cheap, monday morning quarterback insights. What the hell do you know about what we practice in the high school for safety?

You'll bash us for practicing too much safety and then for not practicing enough. Yes, Keith, you are about as transparent as they come.

Your "insights" are being wasted on this small town. Why not take your sense of knowing everything to a bigger stage, and leave us the hell alone.

Do you have a kid in any school, anywhere? Or are you really just a blow hard?

Remember to look both ways when crossing the road, Keith.

Dr. Ed said...

'until the perimeter is checked and secured by public safety.'

I repeat what I wrote when a dog was permitted to bite a child last fall -- the perimeter should already BE secure!

Want one very real possibility -- some sort of weapon -- anything from a rocket to a Claymore -- or the improvised versions thereof -- is fired at the school. Is fired at an occupied classroom.

A lot of things will penetrate a brick wall without difficulty.

You really need to already know whats happening outside the building....

Nina Koch said...

We do have protocols which were developed in concert with public safety officials. We don't wait for them to arrive before we start to respond. We follow the protocols. And, yes, we do have a crisis response team that meets on a regular basis.

If I remember correctly, we did once evacuate immediately in a situation of a bomb threat and the police later told the principal that was not the best course of action. As someone mentioned above, we need to check the outside of the building before sending the kids out there. That sounds logical to me.

I am certainly not going to presume that I know more than a trained public safety official. You seem to be suggesting that we should. I guess it's because you feel that you know more than they do. If you believe that you have some concrete and helpful suggestions, why don't you make an appointment with Mark Jackson and offer your help? If you are genuinely trying to help, that would be the most effective and direct method.

By the way, who are you? You said that you would give your name if you were asked by someone else with a name.

keithw said...

Nina,

I do mean well, but only to well-meaning people. I'm not quite certain if that's you, though. Especially since seldom is heard a discouraging word from you regarding ARHS. Despite this, several anons in past blogs--who alluded to being teachers or faculty in Amherst--had legitimate and honest questions and concerns regarding safety and security in the schools. I offered them suggestions and my OPINION in a civil and supportive way in an attempt to help; and they were appreciative of this. Some of them described feelings spanning from frustration to powerlessness and suggested as though their voices were not being heard by the administration; hardly surprising.

Incidentally, I was already offered a job at ARHS about 10 years ago. A position that essentially amounted to a cross between a lead interventionist & a resource officer. Quite an extensive interview process as I recall. The salaries offered then weren't nearly as good as they are now, apparently.

I do feel as though I have some "concrete and helpful suggestions." So I'm going to take you up on your suggestion by contacting the school. And since you're so interested in who I am, how about I send my info to you and perhaps you can filter it through the proper channels for me?












Oh, the finer things in life said...

"And since you're so interested in who I am, how about I send my info to you and perhaps you can filter it through the proper channels for me?"


Slam -o- rama.


-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. Did you feel it Ni-ni?

Actual Parent said...

Wow, Keithw.

If you don't think that you have definitively ruined any possibility of being taken seriously by the schools by your rude, unprofessional behavior here you are very naive as well.

Who in their right mind would have any interest in listening to you after this display of your personal demeanor?

I trust the administration will see you coming...

When push comes to shove said...

"I trust the administration will see you coming..."


Oh?


Fck the administration.


Idiot.


-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. Who do you think you are?

Anonymous said...

Who cares who you are? It isn't anyone's business.

Anonymous said...

This blog is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Come to think of it, we Are a barrel of monkeys!

Anonymous said...

Nina,

Perhaps if we had faith in Team Maria and that they weren't lying when we KNOW they are, we might be willing to believe them when they need us to "trust them" on things they can't (and shouldn't) tell us.

Problem is that we do not trust them. Can not trust them, and hence will not -- ever -- trust them. On anything....

We don't trust you....

Anonymous said...

Really? What is Team Maria lying about? I'd seriously like to know.

Anonymous said...

...if we had faith in Team Maria and that they weren't lying when we KNOW they are...

Who is "we"? I think "you" will be finding out sooner rather than later that "you" do not represent the greater community and that a much larger "we" support the school community .....

Anonymous said...

Yes! Which goes to show that Nixon was right about the " silent majority." I only wish he'd lived to get a load of the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

Cops really freaking out over gas cans in a way I have NEVER seen before. Related????

keithw said...

"If you don't think that you have definitively ruined any possibility of being taken seriously by the schools…"

"I trust the administration will see you coming…"

Perhaps you're right. If I were to get hired by ARHS, I suppose I might need to have a security guard by my side at all times. Luckily for me, however, I've never robbed a bank at gunpoint and spent time in the can, because that would truly hurt my chances of being employed by ARHS. Wait... I've got it...I'll get hired on as a subcontractor, and give my presentation in front of students until I make one of them vomit!

No matter the turnout, I suppose I can always sue them claiming my experience gave me post traumatic stress.

Anonymous said...

I think it's REALLY safe to say you will never be hired by ARHS.

keithw said...

Boo-friggin-Hoo.