The school day started normally for students at Eli Terry Junior Middle School, there were just a few extra people hanging around. People from the Plymouth Police Department. That extra police presence was here because of what the superintendent says a student posted on Snapchat: A picture of an automatic weapon with the words “Pray for ETJMS.” Those are the school’s initials.
“There’s a lot of concern, and I just want to make sure that the kids and my own son is safe at the school,” said Carmine DiSpaio as he dropped his son off at the school. “I’m glad to see there’s law enforcement here and they’re somewhat bringing attention to this stuff that’s going on.”
Police already patrolling a Plymouth school after the Supt. says a student posted a picture of an automatic weapon and the words “Pray for ETJMS” on Snapchat. pic.twitter.com/0J5IZ6S0b8— Kent Pierce (@kentpierce8) February 28, 2019
The Superintendent of Plymouth Schools put out an email to parents Wednesday night telling them about the posted threat, calling it outrageous.
He put out another statement Thursday morning that reads, in part: “Whether these posts are serious or created as a joke, there is no place for them in our society. They only serve to undermine our feelings of safety and security leading to a more challenging learning environment.”
Plymouth Police are still investigating the threat. While that investigation is going on, neither the police nor the superintendent will do interviews. In his statement, the superintendent did say he wanted school to continue today, because we cannot allow one individual to diminish the learning opportunity of everyone else. A sentiment with which DiSapio agrees.
“I mean, I wouldn’t stop living life,” DiSapio said. “You just hope to be on the safe said, that’s all.”
Below is the letter regarding the threat sent from Dr. Martin J. Semmel, Superintendent of Schools:
“I need to share some disturbing news with you regarding a Snapchat post that was allegedly sent from an ETJMS student this evening. The post itself showed a picture of an automatic weapon with the words “pray for ETJMS”. This kind of post was upsetting to me and I believe will be upsetting to all parents and students. I have been in contact with the Plymouth Police Department who have taken steps to ensure that we are safe from harm as a school and community. Nonetheless, the Plymouth Police Department will have police officers at ETJMS tomorrow morning and throughout the day. We will monitor the situation and determine if additional or continued steps are necessary. Our counselors are available at all schools for any student who would like to discuss their feelings regarding safety and security in the wake of this outrageous post. I hope you know that we take these kinds of threats extremely seriously and will take all steps necessary to ensure that our students and families continue to feel safe and secure in our buildings. We are very proud of the community of learners that we are developing in all of our buildings and I am significantly disappointed in the events of this evening. However, it is imperative that we do not allow the choice of one individual to diminish the learning opportunities that all of our students enjoy in each of our buildings. I will send additional pertinent information as it becomes available. “