Skip to main content

Your Tewksbury Today

Conflicting Reports Regarding Lockdown At TMHS And Winthrop High

Mar 05, 2015 05:46PM ● By Bill Gilman
How serious was the situation that caused a lockdown of Tewksbury High School and Winthrop High Thursday morning?
That depends on who you ask.
What had originally been reported as an isolated incident involving a single student posting a potentially threatening message on social media, revealed itself to be something a bit more complicated.
According to Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan, the TPD was contacted around 9:15 a.m. by the Manchester, NH Police Department, regarding a potentially dangerous situation stemming from Facebook chat between high school girls.
Tewksbury Police were told a female Tewksbury High student had posted to Facebook that she wanted to "get two guns" and "make a suicide pact." The posting had been reported to the Manchester Police by a resident of that city who spotted it online.
According to Sheehan, a Winthrop High student, also a juvenile, responded to the “suicide pact” comment on Facebook by stating, “can we shoot up schools first tho”. The Tewksbury girl allegedly responded by saying “YO lets do it”. The girls did not specify which school they wanted to "shoot up."
Tewksbury Police Department officers responded swiftly and appropriately in collaboration with the School Resource Officers and the School Department staff to locate the Tewksbury Memorial High School student," said Sheehan.
According to Sheehan, the student in question was removed from the school, taken into custody and taken to a location to receive appropriate care.
Earlier in the day, TPD Lt. Robert Stephens said it had been determined there was a "medical issue" involved in the situation.
While police officers were at Tewksbury High, the school was placed in lockdown, keeping the students in their classrooms for close to an hour.
In the meantime, the Tewksbury Police had also contacted the Winthrop Police Department and apprised them of the situation. The Winthrop student was located and detained before she arrived at school, said Sheehan.
Sheehan further stated that his department is consulting with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office regarding possible criminal charges.  
"The Tewksbury Police Department wants to ensure the public that the safety of our students and citizens is our number one priority and matters such as these are taken very seriously," said Sheehan.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. John O'Connor, however, told New England Cable News there was no suicide pact. Rather, he said one girl had threatened to harm herself while a second girl had threatened to bring a gun to school. O'Connor said a third girl, whose location was not provided, was also involved in the online chat and talked about getting something to eat at Wendy's first.
O'Connor said the girls had no connection aside from the only chat, according to the NECN story.
Tewksbury High parents were notified of the situation in an email from Principal Kristen Vogel. The email, provided by a parent, read as follows:

Hi All
At 9:45 am we recieved notification from the Tewksbury Police Department that there was a threat toward the school posted on social media. It was an unsubstantiated threat and the student is no longer in school.Students and faculty are safe.We held students in place while all safety procedures and protocols were completed . Thank you for your continued support of TMHS.
Best Kristen



Follow us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at @TewksburyToday Follow us on Instagram at YourTewksburyToday