Out of an Abundance of Caution, Police will be Present at BHS Through the Week, after ‘Disruption’ and Threats on Social Media

May 2, 2021

Threats on social media from the student perpetrator of what administrators called a “disruption” at Bedford High School last Friday have engendered a police presence planned for the school all this week.

“The student of concern will not be back in the building while we investigate this,” Principal Heather Galante told parents in a lengthy electronic message Sunday.

Still, she also reported that “there will be an additional police presence at our high school on Monday and throughout the week.  Officers will be posted at every entrance/exit and also circulating throughout the building.” All outside doors are normally locked.

“We are acting out of an abundance of caution and to let all of our students, parents, and staff know that we are taking this situation seriously and that we take all threats seriously,” Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad said Sunday evening. He pointed out that some parents and others in the community may not be aware of all of the communications, and thus a visible response will be reassuring.

Friday’s incident, Galante wrote, originated in a classroom and “carried through the hallways.  Police assistance was needed. Police and school personnel acted professionally and calmly throughout. Some students and faculty members witnessed this.”

The memo continued, “After the student left the school, it was reported that the student posted a school threat involving a gun on social media. There was an additional threat made over the weekend posted on social media by the same student. Many of you have seen the posts or screenshots of the posts.  This has understandably created worry and anxiety in our school community.”

Galante wrote that the BHS administrative team has been “in constant communication” with police, and “we are carefully following the process as outlined in our handbook and the police department is also following a prescriptive protocol.” Conrad noted that “the disciplinary process is private and the student will go through the disciplinary process.”

The principal noted that Police Chief Robert Bongiorno has activated the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) STARS team for a “comprehensive threat assessment.”

NEMLEC is a consortium of police departments in Middlesex and Essex Counties, with member agencies sharing expertise, resources, and personnel. STARS is an acronym for School Threat Assessment and Response System, a detailed protocol that includes school-based mental health.

“Additional police presence can also be unsettling,” Galante acknowledged in the email. “Please know our counselors will be available to see students should they need additional support.” Students received a version of the message sent to adults, the principal said.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

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May 5, 2021 6:39 am

This is a copy of the letter I sent to Ms. Galante as well as Phillip Conor.

Ms. Galante,
With respect to your response to Friday’s threat to the school I do have some questions. The person in question was on IG LIVE after we were told that the they were getting support through police, school and family. Can you please elaborate on what measures were taken to secure the situation and the people involved?

I am curious of what if anything is done to try to de-escalate situations before having to call the police. I thought Bedford had access to a mental health crisis team through Advocates. With reflection over the last couple of years demonstrates that the police should not always be the first to call.

I have empathy for your position of being responsible for so many who all are coming from different situations, however we can not keep doing the same action and expect a different result. How can we as a community be part of the solution?
What is being done to supply support to:
Bullies and those bullied?
Sexual harasses and those doing the harassing?
Those with depression!
With anxiety do to having to have shooter lock downs?
Those who deal with racial hate as well as those who are performing these actions?
Those who are victims of gender discrimination and hate as well as those who are actively aggressively harming this community?

It is understandably that many kids have academic struggles when all of the above is part of their environment.

As a parent of the community I would like to know what measures are being put in place to confront the above issues. The children do not need more police in the school (adding a police presence just highlights that the children have to be afraid for their lives on asserting in which are suppose to learn){ *added after letter was sent } they need more support for their mental health in dealing with the huge amount of stressors that they endure on a daily basis at school.
Jennifer kreiter

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