Chester Academy went into hold-in-place, then dismissed early on Wednesday, March 8 in response to a threatening message received in a social media group chat among multiple Chester students.
The threatening message appears to read:
“That’s it, I’m tired of all of you just wait till tomorrow I’m gonna come in with that heat and it on sight
IM GONNA BLOW ALL OF YOU MOTHER F****** UP
I’m tired of you guys picking on me and I’m tired of everyone TREATING ME LIKE F****** S*** YOU GUYS MAKE ME WANT TO KMS
Maybe I should just kill all of you instead tbh
And that’s exactly what ima do”
An abundance of caution
A Chester parent, whose child was in the group chat, informed Chester Union Free School District about the threat Wednesday morning.
“It was certainly a direct threat to school, but it was not confirmed that it was this school, or a Chester student,” said Superintendent Catherine O’Hara. “But because it was a Chester group chat, that had mostly Chester students. That’s why we acted the way we did.”
The school went into hold-in-place, an emergency response schools use to limit movement throughout the building, shortly after 9 a.m.
Multiple police agencies responded: Town of Chester Police Department, Village of Chester Police Department, New York State Police, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and Town of Woodbury Police Department.
Students remained in hold-in-place until Chester Academy dismissed students early around noon. All student belongings were left at the school. Multiple local police agencies and a K-9 unit swept the school and deemed it safe for students to return Thursday.
“What law enforcement was able to surmise is that there is no immediate threat to students and staff, but it was necessary to err certainly on the extreme side of caution,” said O’Hara.
According to the district website, the threat was specific to Chester Academy, which is both the middle and high school for Chester Union Free School District. The elementary school continued with its regular schedule on Wednesday.
Chester Academy is returning to its regular schedule on Thursday with a heightened police presence while Town of Chester police continue the investigation.