Education News

Hoax calls report shootings at two local schools

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury and Otter Valley union high schools were among 21 schools statewide that received hoax calls reporting shootings during the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The calls reportedly originated from voice-over IP phone numbers — or potentially spoofed 802 numbers — and appear to be associated with ongoing nationwide hoax phone threats of school shootings, bomb threats and other violent events that have proved to be unfounded, according to Vermont State Police.

The office of Gov. Phil School, the Agency of Education, the Department of Public Safety, state police, the Vermont Intelligence Center and local law-enforcement agencies are actively engaged in the response to these calls, according to a state police press release.

Scott, Secretary of Education Dan French, Commissioner of Public Safety Jennifer Morrison, VSP Director Col. Matthew Birmingham and Rob Evans, Vermont’s school safety liaison, were slated to discuss the hoax calls a press conference later Wednesday in the Statehouse.

Scott issued the following statement about the calls: “These calls were a hoax — an act of terrorism designed to create chaos and stoke fear that can be exploited. These events are unnerving for everyone — students, teachers, parents and Vermonters. We can use this energy to come together because unity is the most powerful way to ensure terrorists do not achieve their goals. I want to thank the Vermont State Police, local law enforcement and emergency response offices across the state for acting quickly and professionally based on the initial calls. My office (and the other agencies) and local partners will continue to monitor this situation closely, and in the days ahead, after all the facts are gathered, we will debrief on this incident to strengthen our response.”

Addison Central School District Superintendent Peter Burrows informed the MUHS community of the disturbing phone call through an email that included Scott’s statement.

“We are writing to our entire community because we know parents and students may see this information on the news and social media. We want to reassure you that our ACSD Safety Team and administration will continue to take precautions around the safety of our students and staff. We are in ongoing contact with state and local law enforcement to monitor any and all threats of safety. We will share any relevant updates or new information with you.”

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