DERRY — Some Pinkerton Academy parents were unhappy to learn of a potential weapons threat on campus yesterday on Facebook, not from the school.
Derry police were called to the high school at 1:51 p.m. yesterday, Capt. Vern Thomas said.
The report was a student was “possibly in possession of a firearm,” Thomas said in a written release.
Police and school administrators located the student in question and found him to be unarmed, police said.
Police determined the information that prompted the call was incorrect and there was no threat.
“No charges are expected to be filed and the investigation has been closed,” Thomas wrote.
But the case isn’t closed as far as a number of parents posting on Facebook are concerned.
Many questioned the school’s response, the lack of a lockdown, and the fact there was no notification to parents or students.
Parents reported, too, that their children who are Pinkerton students didn’t know about the situation until they were off campus.
Pinkerton spokesman Chip Underhill said the information the school received was about a specific student.
Asked whether the tip said the student was armed or might be armed, Underhill said he wasn’t certain.
He said the school resource officer wasn’t on campus at the time, so Derry police were called.
Asked why the school didn’t go in to lockdown and about the protocol for such situations, Underhill said the time of day — when students were leaving — factored in.
When pushed, Underhill said he would reach out to administrators directly involved to get more information.
In an emailed response later yesterday, Underhill said the situation was over quickly.
“We received information suggesting a student may have had a weapon,” he wrote in the email. “However, that student was quickly found not to have a weapon.”
He stressed how quickly the situation was resolved.
“Upon receiving the information, we followed safety protocol by immediately contacting the Derry Police Department, which quickly responded, quickly determined the student in question had no weapon, and quickly determined there was no threat,” he wrote.
Had police determined the information was credible, “additional steps would have been taken,” he said.
But some parents questioned that response, particularly given there was a school shooting yesterday at a middle school in Roswell, N.M.
“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!”
Kim Witkum echoed that reaction.
“And as a parent of a student there, why am I hearing about this on Facebook and not from the school?” She wrote.
Students posted, too, some saying they knew a student had been handcuffed, but not why and others saying they only learned of the incident after leaving school.
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.”
But the police and school response and explanations may not be enough for some parents, several of whom said they would contact administrators today.
School staff members are always concerned when there is any report a student might have a weapon, Underhill said.
Because the information was found not to be credible, he said, no further steps were necessary.