By: Tom Duggan – Oct. 23, 2015|7pm
For the second time in two days, Methuen Public School students have been arrested for threatening to shoot up a school and kill other kids. (High School Student Arrested). This time it was two 8th grade students at the Tenney Middle School.
Methuen police say they arrested the 8th grade males at the Tenney School around 3:30Pm. They received the notice by school officials around 2pm. Officials say that the students were arrested for making threatening statements to two other students, telling them not to come to school on Monday, because they were coming back to shoot up the school.
School officials also told The Valley Patriot on Friday afternoon that the suspects had routinely made “troubling” statements, but had never made any specific threats until now. The Valley Patriot confirmed that the two students were “obsessed with mass shootings” and had talked about the arrest of a Methuen High School student the previous Monday.
Methuen Police are waiting on a warrant to search the two student’s homes on Friday night. One of the students was released to his parents after arrest. The other student is being held in a secure facility by the State Department of Youth Services.
Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon told The Valley Patriot in an exclusive interview Friday evening, that he and his department take these incidents very seriously.
“Children need to think twice about this kind of activity. Whether you really intend to shoot up a school, or you are trying to be a copycat for attention, or you are just fooling around, you are going to get arrested and you are going to be charged. I do want to credit the training our police officers and school officials have had. We started a big push last year that if you see something, you need to say something. It has absolutely paid off, because this is the third time students have come forward and prevented the potential loss of life.
MISLEADING PHONE CALLS TO PARENTS
Despite being criticized for lack of transparency over the high school incident on Monday, the Methuen Public Schools sent out a recorded phone call on late Friday evening saying that two students were arrested by the Methuen Police due to “an incident” they talked about on Monday. The call made parents believe that the schools were talking about the previous Monday and was related to the previous incident. It was not.
The call, recorded by Mary Beth Donovan, never mentioned that the students had threatened to kill other students, or shoot up the school, instead eagerly encouraging students and parents to attend a festival at the Tenney School on Friday evening.
Parents calling The Valley Patriot said they were “tired of the cover ups” by the Methuen school system and that the school department purposely tried to “downplay the incident” and the threats to their kids. One parent said that the message she received through the school’s “Connect-Ed” calling system was “vague and had purposely dismissive language”.
The Valley Patriot received more then 30 calls during Friday afternoon from parents and students, but never received a call or email from the Superintendent of Schools Judy Scannell.
(UPDATED 10-24-15) Police Chief Solomon issued a press release early Saturday morning confirming the Valley Patriot’s story.PRESS RELEASE