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No charges filed in VUHS case; threat still under investigation

VERGENNES — The Vergennes Union High School student who on Jan. 8 allegedly told another student he might bring a gun to school and shoot it there while other people were present had not as of this week been charged with a crime, according to Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel.
Merkel on Tuesday said, however, he had conferred with Addison County State’s Attorney Dennis Wygmans, and they agreed the case should remain open and under investigation.
The nature of the conversation between the students that Tuesday reached the Vergennes Police Department, and an investigation began later that day.
According to Merkel’s first press release on the incident this past Wednesday his department “determined that a threat had been made, but the ability to carry out the threat was not real.” VUHS was not closed, nor were any extra-curricular activities postponed.
In an interview later in the week Merkel clarified that the investigation concluded the student, a minor who is not being identified due to his age, had no access to weapons.
“The threat was made,” he said then. “But then you have to look at whether the ability of the person who made the threat to carry it out was real, and it wasn’t.”
Merkel would not comment this Tuesday directly on the likelihood of charges being filed in the case.
“It’s an ongoing investigation. It’s an open investigation until further notice,” he said.
While not discussing the possibility one way or the other in this specific case, Merkel confirmed any ongoing investigation can result in charges.
“It’s still an open investigation, and criminal charges could be brought pending any further information,” Merkel said.
Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Sheila Soule said last week that any internal disciplinary measures within the school system had to remain confidential per federal law.

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