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Residents share concerns about handling of NHS threat

Cary Ashby • Oct 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Three local residents shared their concerns Tuesday with the Norwalk school board about the way the district handled the online threat reported by a Norwalk High School student.

The writer of the anonymous threat said: “I’m going to shoot up your school on a beautiful Friday next week. Be prepared and expect the worst.”

Eastwood Drive resident Jeremy Norris said he was speaking for “many angry parents” when he expressed disappointment that the threat apparently only warranted Principal Brad Cooley leaving a voice mail for Norwalk City School Superintendent George Fisk. Norris, a certified firearms instructor who is “highly trained in security,” said that showed a “serious lack of professional judgment” and parents didn’t have any options about leaving their children at home since many were on the bus by the time they received a One Call notification.

“You took away our rights, Mr. Cooley,” added Norris, who complimented the work of the Norwalk Police Department. “School should have been canceled. Period.”

Stephanie Spencer, of Milan Avenue, attended NHS when the Columbine school shootings happened. She recalled students weren’t allowed to bring backpacks to school and just after this threat, she said she was dismayed that nobody searched the bags that students had.

Robert Perry expressed concern about light security at NHS when he recently dropped off a pair of boots to his granddaughter.

Perry said he was buzzed in immediately at the front door and “was passed by four different adults” — whom he assumed were teachers — as he took a left once he was inside the building and went to the principal’s office. He added he “wasn’t challenged” at all, but pointed out he could have gone in a variety of directions once he stepped inside.

“We need to tighten up security for the sake of our children,” he said.

Board president Lisa Wick, as Tuesday’s meeting wound down, said it’s the policy for the board members and administrators not to comment or respond to what is said during public participation. She encouraged the nearly 40 attendees to contact board members with any comments or concerns they might have.

Fisk and Norris spoke privately after the meeting.

“I appreciate the concerns and criticism,” said Fisk, adding that the goal of the school is to improve and make sure students are safe. “I appreciate the Norwalk Police Department and the support they’ve given us the last couple of days.”

The superintendent was asked about the latest on the investigation into the threat.

“I wouldn’t want to say anything that would jeopardize what is going on with the police department,” Fisk said.

The Nov. 14 school board meeting will be held in the NHS library.

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