Schools In Lockout After Threat, Possibly Part Of International HoaxPosted: Updated:
At least three school districts in Jefferson County went into lockout status due to a threat emailed to a newspaper.
The Watertown, General Brown and Indian River districts took the action Tuesday afternoon.
"In an abundance of caution, we have instituted a lockout district wide," said Indian River Superintendent James Kettrick.
Jefferson County Undersheriff Brian McDermott said deputy and state police vehicles were dispatched to schools during dismissals.
"As an extra precaution, all after-school activities are cancelled. SACC will be on regular schedule," said Watertown Superintendent Patti LaBarr in an email.
General Brown also cancelled after-school activities.
According to the Watertown Police Department, the Watertown Daily Times received a suspicious email and reported it to police, which then informed school resource officers. The threat names no specific school.
Jefferson-Lewis BOCES officials said they called every district in its system and recommended they lock down their schools, but left the final decision up to the individual district.
The Watertown Daily Times shared the email with 7 News. The subject is "HELP ME! ~ Trapped inside!"
"Hello, we have picked you and your building to be our next target. We have sent in a student with a bomb," the email reads. "The point is that you will never know who it is. This is for all the times you ignored me and because of the stupid people who think they are better then me, just because they have money. Well this time money will not save them from me. After the first explosion, I will be walking into school and shooting it up. I will let 3 students live as they are my only friends. You will understand my pain and you will soon see that you failed to help me."
The Watertown Daily Times said the email arrived at 11:52 a.m.
Editor Perry White of the Times said, “we immediately recognized the nature of the threat," and called state police, who sent city police.
"We've reached out to the FBI as well as our own New York State Police, looking for their assistance in helping to identify the source of the email," said Detective Lieutenant Joe Donoghue of the Watertown Police Department.
LaBarr said there will be an increased police presence at Watertown schools Wednesday morning as a precaution.
According to published reports, the source of the threat may be part of an international hoax.
The Watertown Daily Times said the email source was "email@example.com."
Published reports said an online group, Apophis Squad, was responsible for threats which have prompted school lockdowns in the United Kingdom and other parts of the United States.
According to KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, police said the Apophis Squad threats are part of international online game allowing players to score points by leveling false threats at schools.