Superintendent Dr. John Antonucci said there should have been more effort to keep students and staff safe following a threat of a shooting at North Attleborough Middle School.
During a School Committee meeting on Nov. 7, Antonucci provided an update about the investigation conducted by the North Attleborough Police Department. It centered around a threat of a school shooting written on the bathroom wall at the middle school, which was discovered the morning of Nov. 1. Students, who were on buses at that time, were sent home out of an abundance of caution.
Antonucci told the committee that night the department has not yet located the individual who wrote the threat and said the school community should be more vigilant when these incidents happen.
“A lot of stuff comes out when these things happen,” Antonucci said. “We have to do a better job as a school community. If you see something, say something.”
When the threat was found and students sent home, North Attleborough Police Department and Mass State Police underwent a search of the school’s perimeter. K-9s were brought to search the school, but no credible threat was found. Antonucci said the staff had a six-minute window to decide to send children home.
“While it wasn’t a credible threat, you just didn’t know,” Antonucci explained. “It wouldn’t be responsible to bring the students to school and search backpacks and lockers one by one.”
Antonucci thanked the police department, school staff, and Town Manager Michael Borg during the meeting. He commended them for working together to ensure students were not entering school on the day of the threat.
“I’m proud,” he said. “I know you don’t want to test drive these kinds of issues when it happens.”
In North Attleborough, Antonucci said funds for school security have tripled over the past three months and as of October, the district has appointed a new School Resource Officer, Lawrence “Jimmy” Morse.
Antonucci said the schools started a day later this year to prepare for these types of events. Staff, teachers, and administrative staff conducted scenarios and drills in case an emergency happens.
While there was no credible threat, Antonucci said the incident sent shockwaves throughout the community, and the district must address school safety in multiple forms—including mental health and self-harm.
“Disruption is way too light of a word,” he said. “We have five kids here with their parents at tonight’s meeting who should feel safe in our community and in our buildings.”