13-year-old Hamden student arrested for allegedly making threats against schools

New Haven

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Police arrested a 13-year-old middle school student for allegedly making threats on social media against Hamden High School and Hamden Middle School on Tuesday.

The teen was arrested and charged Wednesday with first-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace, police said. He is scheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court for Juvenile Matters on Dec. 20.

The threats were made on Instagram and reported to authorities and school officials, police said.

“I want to thank our Police Department for its continued partnership in keeping our schools safe and secure places for learning. I am grateful their thorough investigation led to an arrest. The District will follow all appropriate protocols related to discipline for this threat and disruption to our school community.”

Superintendent Jodi Goeler

“I hope this development provides a measure of relief and helps to increase confidence in our school’s safety, and the safety of our teachers, students, and support staff. This has been a trying time for our community. I would urge that we continue to provide mental and emotional support to all those in need. Additionally, I would like to commend the HPD for their steadfast efforts throughout this daunting ordeal, as they maintained a watchful presence over our schools.”

Hamden Mayor Lauren Garrett

Students returned to Hamden High School Wednesday following threats that shut down for three days, standing in the cold waiting to be scanned with a metal detector.

The Board of Education met Monday night to address these security concerns at their own high school.

RELATED: Multiple threats prompt school lockdowns in New Haven County; Wilbur Cross student charged with breach of peace, interfering with police

The meeting was scheduled to specifically discuss safety and security in the district after threats closed Hamden High School for the third time in less than a week. This also comes shortly after a ninth-grader was stabbed feet away from campus a week ago, and a student was caught at the school with a loaded handgun at the school in October.

At Monday’s meeting, the Board of Education announced that starting Wednesday, security will screen students and staff at the high school. They’ll open only two areas of entry to the building and use wands to start, upgrading to stand-alone metal detectors in the next couple of weeks depending on possible shipping delays. The district also plans to add a second school resource office, additional security guards on campus, and look into adding more security cameras.

The goal is to keep students and staff safe.

“I know that’s what the point of the metal detectors are, but I still feel like there’s going to be a lot of fighting,” student Anisa Adger said.

“We have to put our bags into a bin, and they check it and then we get scanned with a metal detector,” student Charlotte Sansone said. “It makes me feel safe, it’s just going to take forever.”

Board of Ed members and school officials have mixed feelings on these increased security measures but agree something needs to be done to ensure a safer environment at school.

“I don’t want metal detectors in my school, but I don’t see how we can stop being held hostage to outside threats when all anyone has to do is put a social media post up and it sends everyone into a panic,” Assistant Superintendent, Chris Melillo said.

Parents in the district told News 8 they’re ready to transfer their children to other schools if something doesn’t change. Karlen Meinsen felt no other option but to show up at the Board of Ed meeting.

“We’re on pins and needles every single day as parents to the point where we don’t know if we should send our children to school or not,” Meinsen, a Hamden High School parent, said. “We would have pulled her [daughter] out by now. It’s just that we can’t afford private school.”

“It’s a tough decision because the metal detectors make people scared, but they’re also doing their best to make people safe,” parent Erik Harms said.

The Board of Ed members acknowledged the challenging situation in the high school.

“These students are hurting and we should all be held accountable for caring for our students,” one board member said.

Goeler assured parents that if anyone is found with a weapon, they’ll be expelled.

“Once we determine that there is a gun or an illegal weapon in our school, we confiscate it and we immediately call the police or the SRO, who would be in the school,” Goeler said.

Police aren’t releasing many details but told News 8 the threats addressed in Monday’s meeting were made online and Hamden’s mayor added they “must continue to address the mental health” of their students in developing future plans.

Security and officers trained with the new safety measures Tuesday at the school to help streamline the process come Wednesday.

The video below is from a previous newscast.

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