, Derry, New Hampshire


January 23, 2014

Editorial: When students face threat, parents need to know

Last week, there was a report of a student with a firearm on the Pinkerton Academy campus. It turned out to be nothing -- the report was untrue.

Pinkerton Academy generally responded to the potential threat well. But what the school did not do so well was keep parents informed of what had happened. That’s almost as important as responding to the threat itself, as parents understandably get nervous whenever there is a report of a gun on a school campus.

School officials were notified that a specific student might have a firearm, Pinkerton spokesman Chip Underhill told our reporter. The school’s resource officer was not on campus, so the Derry police were called.

Derry police received a call at 1:51 p.m. Jan. 14 about a student “possibly in possession of a firearm.” Police and school officials quickly located the student, who has found to be unarmed.

“No charges are expected to be filed and the investigation has been closed,” police Capt. Vern Thomas wrote in his report.

That was the end of the matter as far as the school and police were concerned. But not so for parents, who began to hear disturbing reports from their children about what had happened on campus late in the day.

“Are you kidding me? My daughter did tell me a student was handcuffed, but had no clue why,” Stephanie Tsepas wrote on Facebook. “Sad that we as Pinkerton parents had to find out about this on Facebook!”

“And as a parent of a student there, why am I hearing about this on Facebook and not from the school?” Kim Witkum wrote.

Some people thought the school’s response was appropriate.

“Better to be safe then sorry,” Joseph Ferland wrote. “(The) general public will find something to complain about either way. I’m glad it was looked into, regardless.”

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