NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

February 26, 2013

Student removed for writing 'hit list'

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — SEABROOK — A Seabrook Elementary School fourth-grader was removed from the Walton Road school Wednesday for allegedly writing the names of several classmates in a journal and then telling a classmate it was a list of people the student was going to harm.

In a letter sent to parents following the school’s action, SAU 21 Assistant Superintendent Barbara Hopkins wrote that a risk assessment was made by administrators and Seabrook school resource officer James Deshaies and that at no time were any students or others inside the school at risk.

“We take the welfare and safety of all of our students extremely seriously and we are committed to providing a safe, healthy and supportive environment in our schools,” Hopkins wrote.

Seabrook police Deputy Chief Michael Gallagher said the list was on a loose-leaf piece of paper and shown to a classmate along with some statements that raised concern. It was the classmate who saw the list who reported it to school officials.

Gallagher stressed the piece of paper contained names only and that statements made between the two students prompted the student’s temporary removal from classes.

“They were a little alarming,” Gallagher said, of the comments.

Students are off this week for winter vacation, but Gallagher said the student would be returning to classes next Monday.

Gallagher said that in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, police, school officials and parents are even more cautious when confronted with potentially dangerous or troubling activity.

“We have to be even more vigilant than ever,” Gallagher said.

School officials would not release the name of the student or specific details regarding the incident in an effort to protect student privacy and safety.