Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Middle School Scare


 APD at Amherst Regional High School this morning
UPDATE 6:30 PM



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The first emailed bulletin from the Amherst Public Schools this morning was a heart stopper:  Three schools had gone into "lockdown" because an unauthorized male was inside the Middle School.  An announcement over the PA system said he had ducked into a bathroom where he made a strange remark to a student using the bathroom.



The next bulletin an hour or so later gave the all clear, but little else.


Then at 3:08 p.m. the final bulletin gave more of the backstory and the exceedingly good news that APD had made an arrest, even though it was on an unrelated charge:



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33 comments:

Walter Graff said...

Glad to see precautions were taken. This town is ripe for trouble in the schools and I'm glad the school acted fast.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God -- the man used the restroom. Heaven forbid!!!

Would they prefer he use a trashcan? (I've seen that done, and it is disgusting...)

Larry Kelley said...

Well he is a guy, and I'm told he ducked into the girls bathroom.

Anonymous said...

If the student "exited the bathroom and reported his concerns to a faculty member", it means either it was a boy's bathroom or the boy was in a girl's bathroom too...

Larry, according to the email which you posted, which is the closest thing to an official report we have, it at least implies that it was a male facility.

Anonymous said...

Drama, Drama, Drama! Seems all the schools are filled with. threats made, nut bans, Administrators leaving without information, SC members treating each other badly, racial comments in the bathrooms, etc.

Will we ever see stories like minority poor students accepted with a full scholarship to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc.

That's what the administrations tells us they are doing. Reaching all children everyday. Giving the same high quality education to all kids regardless. They have been working on this equalization for over 20 years. When will we see the results?

Anonymous said...

How about the "rich white kid" that got denied from Yale or Harvard because the "poor minority" got accepted over him, even though the white had better grades (and what else) and now cannot attend said school. Talk about equalization huh.

Anonymous said...

Um, I think the email stated the man made a strange comment, 4:34, not that the kid was freaked out because a man was in the men's room.

And 6:08, keep on playing that race card every time you hear the word school and see how many of us stop listening. Would you rather the school say it's no big deal when a 13 year old has a weird encounter with an adult who is not supposed to be in the building ?

This lockdown story has nothing to do with achievement. You damage the cause when your first response to everything school related goes to race. It doesn't make logical sense. The story has nothing to do with that.

Anonymous said...

What results do you want to see exactly? You can bring a horse to water... 5.8% of applicants were accepted to Harvard this year. 11.5% black, 11.5% Latino. About right with the overall population. SO what will Amherst do, get a kid into Harvard. Any kid can can apply. Few will make it.

Walter Graff said...

I told you a while ago that they will buzz anyone into the school and THAT IS A PROBLEM. And in this case this guy went first to Wildwood where he was buzzed and went to office and talked to personnel. He then left and went to middle school where he was buzzed in again, no questions asked.

The problem is you have all this security but no S.O.P. for letting people into the school other than a note that says "please come to office first". Tell that to a guy with a gun. Hey, we'll buzz you but before you go shooting up the school can you stop by the office and get a visitor pass. Thank you.

Ms. Geryk, get tough on this one. I'd rather jump through hoops when I have to come to the school once it's locked then simply press a button and get free unquestioned entry with the 'promise' I'll stop by the office first.

Anonymous said...

And they're off and running...

Anonymous said...

Let students who deserve to go to college get in based on their achievements and merits, not based on their color. How much more can we subsidize minorities and give them free tickets just because they are a different color. It's constantly noting the differences that is what keeps people from ever finding a place. It's all this political correctness that is making things worse. You can't make up for years of abuse by simply putting people at the head of the line even if they don't get the program.

Last I looked the people who built this country came from all over the world and the successful ones were the ones that worked hard, focused, and never gave up even when they were minorities and told to sit in the back of a bus.

Now we are expected to give minorities free tickets because they "deserve it". We are expected to be tolerant because a child of color can't learn the lessons like everyone else, and we are supposed to graduate kids who can't read all because they are of color and need special treatment, we are supposed to put those who are C students into Harvard because they are less fortunate minorities.

How about earning your way. We aren't such a backwards society that we don't recognize talent and achievement regardless of color even though the radical believers think this is still true. It's the folks that focus on color all the time and the inequality that are the only ones that believe it and convince everyone else that it's true.

That same group tried to complain this year as they always do every year when Harvard doesn't "let enough minorities in" and fails to attract high-achieving, low-income students. Harvard's response:

“No one’s being left out who has a chance of getting in. The issue is not reaching these high-ability students who come from low-income families, but in getting them to agree to enroll at educational institutions like Harvard after high school."

Schools can push you and push you but if you don't have what it takes what are we supposed to do, fill out the application for you?

One has to seriously question how much affirmative action harms minorities in the end over really helping them.

Anonymous said...

The precaution we need is a visible police presence in the vicinity throughout the school day.

We have police standing guard at every polling place on Election Day.

Why do our children deserve less protection and security than our voters?

We have to get over this mental block we have about cops.

Walter Graff said...

Police, really? No what we need is a return to normalcy. When you put up bullet proof glass in schools, lock all the doors like a prison, and sit in turrets waiting for the enemy, that's what you get.

Every move is now potential hazard. Everything is about what could happen. You work from fear. You are waiting to hit the lock-down button. You lose a big part of what it is to be a school. We've taken a few isolated school shootings in this country and turned them into the norm. We've wasted money installing security systems and turned schools into fortresses. And what has it gotten us? Nothing but problems that we created.

The school's security protocol was recently upgraded, requiring visitors to be individually admitted after visual and identification review by video monitor. Doors to the school were locked each day, after morning arrivals. That's Amherst. And guess what... It was also the same exact system in Newton, CT the day a deranged kid shot his way past the security and killed a school. Did all the locks make a difference? No.

We don't need locks, we need a return to civility where we stop acting out of fear. Most of what is going on in Amherst including the acts involving racism are from fear and ignorance. We have a school system that is creating it's own shadow and hitting the panic button every time it sees it.

So you can go two ways, if you want to put up sandbags, then start manning the gun towers. If not, then stop creating an atmosphere of fear that helps create most of the problems you have now.

Anonymous said...

Not once have I been asked anything before being buzzed in to the middle or high school so this isn't surprising. Not asked my name or to state my business. Just hit that button and buzz, you're in. You call that security?

trevor bleau said...

All this ranting and raving from people without enough backbone to post their name. It's easy to criticize when your not held accountable. Do they have problems? Yes. But,getting deserved students into college is not the subject. I believe they need better protocol and not a police presence. Prevention can go a lot farther than reaction. I'm a ARHS grad from '88. So much has changed.

Anonymous said...

Did the visitor have any school business?
Buzzing in during the school day to chat in the WW office?
I would've been on alert-
Did Wildwood send him to Middle School/Central for some reason?
Did they notify anyone?
Do all visitors sign in/ present ID? I do when visiting schools for work (given visitor pass/ my photo ID is held at office)




Anonymous said...

Police at every polling place? Where are you voting? There are never police working polls, those are election officials I think they are constables or something of the like. The lack of factual information on this blog is mind boggling. Post whatever, someone, maybe most will believe you.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that he did not sign in with his real name.

Anonymous said...

What did he say in the bathroom?

Was it, "I have a gun and I'm going to shoot up the school" or was it, "Looks like snow tonight."

Without knowing this, we won't know if the school over-reacted or acted appropriately.

Anonymous said...

I have a kid at the middle school, and I go there frequently. Every single time I buzz I am asked "Can I help you?" and have to state my business.

That said, once buzzed in, nothing compels me to actually go to the office and sign in. And in a busy office with lots of folks coming and going, there is no follow up...

Rumor has it that the perp asked the student for a urine sample...quite creepy.

Anonymous said...

Under affirmative action policy, children are labelled at birth, some will have to work several times harder than others to get into same ideal college. A white high schooler worked day and night but still failed to enter top college, but his black friend, who is not necessary smarter, and worked less harder, made it into too college. Is it reverse discrimination? Does it create resentment? Will that turn that white kid into a racist when he grows up? The policy is not fair to the black kid either. Assume he enter workforce with full qualification, he will be forever suspected as being an affirmative action hire. Affirmative action divides people, and weaken the U.S. competitiveness in today' s paulus eataxtglobal competition.

Anonymous said...

I would like the blame game to stop, manifested here but also in public meetings in which speakers lash out at the authority figures in town.

My sense is that Jackson, Geryk, and others in charge are doing the best they can with a situation not of their own making. They can't say that and have to fall on their swords.

And, yes, disagreeing with Mr. Jackson: it is a few bad apples, who need to be dealt with harshly. There is nothing wrong with the soul of this community.

Nina Koch said...

Trevor! It's so fun to see your name. I remember you very well. You were always such a nice young man. Plus, you had a really cool truck.

Thanks for adding your voice here and also for redirecting folks back to the actual topic of this thread.

Anonymous said...

You know I have seen first hand how people are let into the schools. Yes the doors are locked and their is a buzz in system with a camera. All the times I have seen people let in no one really looks at the camera or asks who it is and they just say come in as they push the button. Today someone was let in and their is a person who sits inside the main doors, well they were too busy either reading or on their computer to even notice this person walk right by and not check in at the main office. The people who are letting people in need to be more detailed in questions and also the person stationed inside the doors should make sure the person goes to the office first. Just like they had staff/teachers in the cafe after the bullying to watch over the kids like they have them in their everyday. It only took less then a week and they went back to just grading papers, reading books, and talking in groups to other staff rather then keeping an eye on the students. The first step to making the buzz in system work is to actually ask who it is even though you can see them and ask why they are their and to please report to the main office first. Plus it's the person who sits inside the doors at the nice long table doing crosswords, reading, etc to stop the person and ask such questions. Then their most likely wouldn't be an issues in the furture. Yes their are some workers who have to be buzzed in and most everyone knows who they are and they are let in, but make sure you look at the camera. I have been aske by staff to let them in and I won't cause they are not to be their at the time I am so nope, if your ID badge doesn't allow you in, then you don't get in.

Walter Graff said...

Nothing has changed Trevor other than perception. You say you graduated in 1988. In 1988 there were a number of school shootings incliding:

February 11, 1988: Largo, Florida, Jason Harless, 16, shot and killed one assistant principal and wounded two others, at Pinellas Park High School.

May 20, 1988: Winnetka, Illinois, Laurie Dann, 30, shot and killed one elementary school student and wounded five others, then took a family hostage and shot a man before killing herself.

September 26, 1988: Greenwood, South Carolina, James William Wilson Jr., 19, entered Oakland Elementary School and opened fire, killing two 8-year-old girls and wounding 6 other students and 2 teachers.

December 16, 1988: Virginia Beach, Virginia, Nicholas Elliott, 15, opened fire with a SWD Cobray M-11 semiautomatic pistol at Atlantic Shores Christian School, killing teacher Karen Farley and wounding another.

We have created an environment of fear. The internet has allowed myth and fear to prosper. That's about the only difference. Now we can focus on anything we want and create all the fear we want. We teach with bullets, bars, and stone today.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who don't like the off topic comments and the hijacking of the comments section, remember they are in direct relation to the many people ignored my the school administration for years and years.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for hijacking the comments section. Now move along.

Larry Kelley said...

To get back to the original story: Turns out the perp was on probation and he needed a clean urine sample for his probation officer.

Keithw said...

Unfortunately, gaining entry to a school is a relatively simple thing to do nowadays. Most locks that are used are magnetic locks with a motion detector on the inside of the door that disable the lock when activated and there's usually at least a five second delay in locking the door. This makes it awfully easy for someone who's motivated to gain entry to the school to either follow someone who's been buzzed in, or go in after somebody has just walked out. The magnets are strong for the most part, but a hard enough yank and the door is open. A second set of locked doors and equipping staff with fobkeys is a good way to fortify and buy time, but unfortunately as history has taught, nothing will work 100% of the time.

Anonymous said...

So, wait, he needed a urine sample... and went to a public school to do so? Was it simply the closest bathroom he could find, or was he hoping to pay a non-druggie high school student (yeah right!) and buy some?

Larry Kelley said...

Middle School, where the chances of drug free students is (hopefully) pretty high.

Anonymous said...

Much better odds than if he went to the high school.

Anonymous said...

Larry -- drugs are in the middle school. Sex too. Trust me - that's when that stuff starts and parents need to understand that.

Heck, girls are having their first periods at the age of 12 now -- that's 6th grade for heaven's sake!