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Investigations of school threats prompt lockdowns, closures across Conn.

Hamden High School
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
Hamden High School on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021.

For the second week in a row, several high schools in Connecticut faced lockdowns, closures or early dismissals as police investigated possible threats. Multiple high schools in New Haven, Hamden and Norwich were affected on Monday.

The investigations came after a school shooting in Michigan last week left four students dead and seven people injured.

Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven entered temporary lockdown and early dismissal Monday morning. New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez told reporters Monday evening that a girl has admitted to making a false 911 call about a person approaching the school with a gun. The minor has been arrested and faces felony charges for breach of peace and interfering with an investigation.

Dominguez said police are also investigating other threats against several New Haven schools traced to a social media account from outside the state. New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker says the schools mentioned in the threats were put in lockdown or early dismissal.

“At this time, we have not found that any of the threats are credible,” Elicker said at a news conference Monday evening. “It creates a significant amount of trauma in a community that is already quite traumatized.”

Elicker reminded the public that threats are illegal and those posing them will be found and arrested.

On Friday, Hamden High School closed down after possible threats. Officials closed the school again Monday and said they plan to reopen with extra security measures on Wednesday while Hamden Police investigate. The Hamden school board announced a special meeting for Monday evening for a “review of district safety and concerns,” including a stabbing that took place outside the school last week.

Connecticut State Police also received a tip a little after 9:30 a.m. Monday from a concerned parent of a student at Eli Whitney Technical High School in Hamden who saw a concerning post.

“They had observed a social media threat that was interpreted to be related to Eli Whitney Tech,” state Trooper Sarah Salerno said Monday morning. “The school principal was contacted and initiated a ‘lockdown’ at the school. Troopers have responded to the school and are investigating.”

Norwich Free Academy also locked down on Monday morning over a possible threat, according to WFSB, and the lockdown was lifted around 11 a.m. after a suspect was identified.

On Friday, Hearst Connecticut Media reported that police responded to a false alarm of shots fired and investigated other reports of bomb threats and guns seen in social media posts in Danbury, New Milford and Norwalk.

This is a developing story. This post was updated at 2:25 p.m. and 6:43 p.m. on Dec. 6. Please check back for updates.

Cassandra Basler is a radio reporter and editor at Connecticut Public. She has covered juvenile justice, the opioid crisis, immigration, social justice and inequity. You can find her reporting in New Haven and Fairfield counties. She previously worked at WSHU Public Radio and her work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Here & Now.
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