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Update: Students Return to High School After Evacuation

Police are conducting an investigation at the school.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m.

Tolland High School was evacuated Thursday after administrators were informed of a potential threat at 8:10 a.m., according to a press release from Principal Dominique Fox.

The threat was written on the wall of a restroom, the release said. Following the school emergency plan, the school was placed on lock-in, until state police arrived at the building. Once emergency personnel arrived, the students were evacuated to the athletic fields in back of the school.

All Tolland schools were placed on a lock-in, as well, the release said.

State police, the Tolland Fire Department and emergency personnel searched the building and determined that it was safe.

The case is still under investigation.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 11:56 a.m.

Public Safety Director and Fire Chief John Littell said that the students have returned to the school.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 10:45 a.m.

Tolland High School has been evacuated, according to Tolland resident trooper Sgt. Scott Smith.

Tolland Patch has contacted the Board of Education office, but a staff member said they were not able to comment on the situation.

Original Story:

has been placed on lockdown Thursday morning as police conduct an investigation in the building, according to Tolland resident trooper Sgt. Scott Smith.

No more official information is available at present. 

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Jim G. September 13, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Do you have information about the cause of the lockdown? And are you REALLY suggesting that all the kids should be sent on out to play, or stand in the snow, or go home, every time someone calls in a threat? Gee, that shouldn't mean more than three days a week are wasted on that kind of response. Or - gosh, here's a thought - you could be assured that the school, the town and our ER system have an appropriate set of steps to follow in these cases? Oh, never mind. Of COURSE you're smarter than they are and know more about what's going on. Never mind.
Morgan Vose September 13, 2012 at 03:59 PM
It was a bomb threat. Kids are safe. Police are investigating.
Tammy September 13, 2012 at 04:22 PM
It started as a lock IN, then progressed to a lock down. Lock in usually means drug related which somehow led to something else which required the evacuation of the kids. I had to pick my daughter up at 9 and they were still in the Lock In, when I went to return her they had evacuated the kids to the football field and weren't letting cars near the school so the problem obviously escalated in the 2.5 hours we were gone.
Tina September 13, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Sgt. Smith is not in the habit of misinforming his community, especially since he lives here, too. If you don't trust what they are doing, go into Sgt. Smith's or Mr. Littell's OPEN DOORS and ask. They are both doing what's appropriate and best for our kids as far as I can see.
Disgusted September 13, 2012 at 05:08 PM
JIM G - who are you even addressing ? I don't see anyone suggesting the the students "go on out to play." Really ? But when there is a BOMB threat, the school should be promptly evacuated each and every time- But I guess you would rather risk it and keep your kids inside the school and just assume it's a prank instead of a potential threat- Good idea.
Jim G. September 13, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Since my comment was tucked under yours as a reply, I guess I was addressing you. If your trust in our ER system is so lacking, perhaps you should acquire a few hundred years of combined experience and training and take it over.
Disgusted September 13, 2012 at 05:28 PM
It's not a distrust in the ER system, Jim, it's a question as to why the school would lockdown when there is a potential explosion- period-
Jim G. September 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Okay, let's take it one step at a time. What, if any, was the real level of threat? Probably somewhere near zero - but NOT ignorable. So the ER system responded on exactly that level - check it out, prepare for an escalating situation, but don't panic or overreact. Why zero threat? Think it through. If someone wanted to torch the high school, they'd do it at night or on a weekend when response to the emergency would be delayed and the chances of anyone being hurt or killed was low. (Arsonists and/or malicious teens are not usually murderers.) If someone wanted to create mass casualties, why on earth would they call in a warning? Nope. The 999/1000 situation with a call-in bomb threat is amateur disruption, with no real threat, and our excellent ER team knows that... but still did their jobs to the letter of the response protocol. I also just heard from someone who was in the lockdown at another school, and they praised the response of the administration and teachers there. Most of the kids had no idea anything was wrong - as it should be. But if you think all the schools should be disrupted for two hours - really, for the whole day - every time some smart boy picks up a phone, you're welcome to run for school board and set the policy. Not that there'd be any danger of you being elected.
Disgusted September 13, 2012 at 05:53 PM
JIm- Who said it was even a boy that made the threat ? You know, I would love to argue the point with you all day, but my lunch break is over- You see I am working today, as I do every day. I noticed that you, on the other hand, clearly spend a lot of time arguing with people all day long about every issue under the sun, and "putting them in their place." (or so you think) And then , ultimately, when you all else fails during the discussion, you insult them with rude comments like " not that there would be any danger of them electing you." Nice- really sharp wit you have there. Have a good day arguing, pontificating and being smarter than everyone else, Jim- I have to go back to earning a living.
Jim G. September 13, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I am at work, Dis. I just have the flexibility to keep this at my elbow while other things are going on. Tell me why it really matters whether it was "a boy" who called it in or not. Odds are VERY high it was - but it could have been a six-year-old girl or a squirrelly grandma and it's the same result. If you think it's an insult that I think you unlikely to be elected on a platform of emptying the schools as a first response to such things, you misunderstand the point. As frazzled as a lot of parents are likely to be today, I think your idea of a correct response would be in a vanishingly small minority - far too small to elect you.
Ferne McAllister September 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Agree with Tina. There's always someone out there thinking officials have an ulterior motive of some sort - for Pete's sake - give credit to our excellent public safety staff.
T V September 13, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I think the entire school community needs to learn the protocols so that a discussion like the one above does not happen. I know that much discussion has gone in to each and every school in this country to come up with a viable plan of action. This world has changed especially since 9/2011. Lets work together for the sake of all of our children.
onlywhatsfair September 13, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I have to agree with disgusted .... my first thought was why in the world would they LOCK DOWN???? I don't think you can take anything for granted anymore ... not in this day and age with all the nuts out there.
Jim G. September 13, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Ah, yes, because I respect the town's ER system I must be their lackey. And sitting around wasting taxpayer dollars to boot. Got it. (Wrong on both counts, though - private business owner, taxpayer, and parent with kids in the schools.) And today, business requires that I sit and supervise some processing that leaves me time to toss out a few comments. But I see you have time to drop in, agree with an uninformed opinion and call Disgusted a moron... thanks for your contribution!
Disgusted September 13, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Rachel- Don't worry- I understand "tongue in cheek" and realize who the actual moron was that you were referring to- and don't bother arguing with Jim G- he is always right and much smarter than everyone else- Plus, he's been busy " supervising processing" all day which allowed him the time to "throw out a few comments." (actually over 29 comments at last count- I gave up trying to keep track of all his bloviating on every issue that floats by his screen...He does it pretty much every day, so I guess he supervises a lot of processing) Shame on us for questioning the logic of locking kids in a building during a bomb threat- What were we thinking ?? I guess we are just part of that vast "uninformed " part of the population, huh ? Luckily , we have people like Jim G to set us straight !!
Jayme Kunze September 13, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Hi everyone. Please remember that personal attacks and profanity are not allowed according to the Patch Terms of Use. Also, when I deleted a comment that contained profanity, it appears the system also deleted the responses to that comment, which I did not intend to do. I will see what I can do to restore them. My apologies for the inconvenience.
Rachel Lundquist September 13, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Ok- I agree with the questioning of what happened- Having a Lockdown during a bomb threat is illogical. Maybe Jim is ok with leaving his kids in the school but a lot of us are not.
Disgusted September 13, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Like I said earlier, I wouldn't define 30+ comments as a "few." Good luck with supervising all that processing every day.
Jim G. September 13, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Our kids spend all day in the hands of the school, and indirectly, the town and its emergency responders. If you don't think they're capable of handling our children's safety, then might I suggest homeschooling, and in a town with what you consider better emergency services? Or you could just go ask questions directly of the commanders involved. I'm sure they'll answer your questions politely and as completely as you like, even though you've spent considerable effort here calling them, in effect, a bunch of idiots.
Jim G. September 13, 2012 at 08:44 PM
When Patch implements a quota, I'll use it more carefully. Until then, I'll exercise my privilege to post as freely as I like - and I'll at least be able to refrain from pointless namecalling, of both other commenters and town officials doing their jobs. Thanks for your concern about my job, though.
robert j. noona September 13, 2012 at 11:20 PM
squirrelly Grandma? To whose grandma do you make reference-any, or all? Rjnoonan
Miss Mary Mack September 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Actually, my child told me they remained "locked in" for TWO HOURS before being evacuated....makes no sense
Jim G. September 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM
As it turns out, the "threat" was not a phone call, but a scrawl on a bathroom wall. If you work that through, the worst case is a potentially armed student... in which case a lockdown is exactly the right option until responders have control of the building.
Disgusted September 14, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Jim- Clearly a lot of other people are questioning the logic of the lockdown when a bomb threat was written on the bathroom wall. You can define it as "not having faith in town officials " if you like- however, I will not apologize for asking questions when something doesn't make sense, instead of just blindly following the herd. If you choose to accept the course of action that was taken, that's your decision, but criticizing people who do inquire is just counterproductive.
Disgusted September 14, 2012 at 01:12 PM
haha
Rachel Lundquist September 14, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Exactly- And btw,Jim, since when did asking a question about the school's procedure become a blanket criticism of the "commanders" involved ?? And your inference that we called them a bunch of "idiots" is over-reaching and entirely false. Relax, soldier.
Rachel Lundquist September 14, 2012 at 01:24 PM
haha ! Right ?
Julia Gottier September 14, 2012 at 05:12 PM
From the point of view of a former student - last year, when locked down in the building and having heard the rumour of a bomb threat, I know I was terrified & wondered why the school hadn't evacuated us. I would have felt safer had they done so. Just a slightly different perspective!
Rachel Lundquist September 14, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Thank you, Julia, for a student's perspective ! I would have been scared as well.
Will Eccles September 19, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I am a freshman at THS and I was in a class of all freshman at the time. We all new what was happening because we could see the police and their dogs through the windows. I think it wasn't very scary to us because we knew that there was a low chance and we knew our town's ER team is good. Also, the teacher of the class I was in at the time asked the police when we were outside, got the whole story, and explained that they locked us in because then if there was a bomb, no on could get out and detonate it.

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