Dartmouth, SouthCoast Schools See Increased Police Presence Amid Threats
DARTMOUTH — Dartmouth Public Schools are among a handful of districts on the SouthCoast seeing a temporary increase in police presence this week amid a proliferation of threats of violence on social media.
A message emailed to Dartmouth families from the district stated that vague TikTok threats nationwide claim that there will be a school shooting with no mention of state or school on Friday.
"While these postings have been deemed to be non-credible, out of an abundance of caution the Dartmouth Police department will be present at our schools during arrival and dismissal as well as throughout the day tomorrow," the message reads.
The precautions come as Bourne Public Schools investigated a threat at the middle school today, and as Fall River police investigated a potential gun threat at Durfee High School reported on Wednesday.
A Durfee student was arrested last month on firearms charges after allegedly leaving a handgun in another student's car.
Tuesday marked the ninth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in which 26 people were killed, including 20 young children.
"We want to be proactive," said Dartmouth Schools Superintendent Dr. Bonny Gifford. "Unfortunately, social media certainly creates hype and anxiety in folks."
She said that there will be extra police cruisers around all Dartmouth school buildings throughout the day.
"We're doing this out of an abundance of caution, to make sure we maintain the highest level of safety at our schools," noted Dartmouth police spokesperson Det. Kyle Costa.
In Fall River, police said the gun threat is being investigated, and Durfee High School saw an increased police presence yesterday and today.
"We are aware of an increase of these threatened incidents not only in our local area but on a national level as well," said Fall River police spokesperson Capt. Barden Castro.
"While all threats are taken seriously and investigated, an analysis does take place to determine the proper response and handling of the situation."
He added, "Enhanced security measures will be in place as the investigation into this threat unfolds."
In Dartmouth, families are being asked to notify a school staff member or trusted adult immediately if anyone is aware of any potential threat.
But at the same time, the message noted, "it is important to avoid sharing posts online that refer to school safety threats. Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff."
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