Update on School Safety

Alexander Wolff

Dear Pelham Families, 

I am writing to provide an update on the school safety issue that led the District to shift to remote instruction today. 

Early this morning, a parent outside of Pelham became aware of a screenshot of an anonymous Snapchat message that threatened a school shooting at “PMS.” Recognizing that this could be a threat against Pelham Middle School, the parent immediately notified Pelham Police early this morning, who relayed this information to us and immediately began investigating. While it was unclear if this threat was credible or not, the fact that it appeared to reference a specific school in our District necessitated that we close our school facilities to students and staff out of an abundance of caution and to allow time for police to investigate. 

Throughout the day, our administrative team has continued to meet to monitor the situation and assess our next steps. Simultaneously, we have been coordinating with both police departments to ensure the safety of our students and staff. 

At about 3pm, we received the following update for the Pelham Police Department:

“At approximately 6:30am, the Pelham Police Department received an initial complaint of a perceived threat against the Pelham Middle School. It has been determined this morning’s social media threat was part of a nationwide viral social media challenge. There were no direct or specific threats to the Pelham School District. Further police investigation concluded the social media post was similarly directed toward multiple out of state schools with the similar PMS abbreviation as the Pelham Middle School.

To ensure the safety of the students and staff our district shifted to virtual instruction so a proper police investigation could determine the facts surrounding today’s incident. 

The Pelham Police have concluded there are no direct threats to the Pelham School District.  As a continued precaution, you will see a heightened police presence next week in and around the schools.”

With this in mind, we are confident that our schools are safe and we will open as regularly scheduled on Monday, December 20 with an additional police presence. 

Once again, I want to thank both the Pelham and Pelham Manor police for their collaboration and quick action. I would also like to thank the community for your patience and commend our teachers and administrators for their flexibility and commitment to our students.

I hope that you have a relaxing weekend and we look forward to completing the final few days before the Holiday Break begins on December 24. 

Sincerely,

Dennis R. Lauro, Jr. Ed. D.

Acting Superintendent of Schools

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