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BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem police investigated unrelated reports of two Bethlehem Central Middle School students earlier this week where they allegedly used “concerning language” that implied threats of school violence, according to Cmdr. Adam Hornick.
Such language touched on the use of weapons or violence in school. He could not disclose the students’ names, the exact words they used, and when exactly each incident happened though. Hornick cautioned that these incidents were not technically threats, but instead are “more like conversations or statements students made that contained alarming language and other people reported them to the School Resource Officers or school administrators.”
One incident with “concerning language” was made in a social media post by one student, which was reported to the school by a parent. The other was verbal, during a conversation between two students in the cafeteria, which several other students overheard and reported to the school. However, these two incidents, while occurring within the same week timeframe, are not connected.
BCMS parents were informed about what happened in a mass email from Superintendent Jody Monroe on Thursday, Jan. 17, which included that school administrators looked into each incident, along with School Resource Officers, who are Bethlehem police officers too.
Police found no credible so-called “threat” and no one was charged.
Hornick said he appreciated that the school followed the “see something, say something” mindset. “It’s better to look into something that’s reported than not look into it at all, and then have an incident actually happen,” he said. “It’s important to have that open dialogue with the school community.”
The aforementioned BCMS incidents-related mass email comes just one day after a shooting scare at Slingerlands Elementary School on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and two days after a bomb threat was found in a note in a female restroom in the Voorheesville Central School District’s Middle School-High School campus on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Both those situations were found to not contain any credible threat though and Hornick said they and the BCMS reports are “four isolated incidents which happened to take place in the same week. But they’re not related.”
He added that he understood why the public would reasonably feel worried but he admired how people, given this week’s events, reported about each incident to the appropriate authorities so that they can be investigated.