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Message in Shen bathroom warns of shooting

March 19, 2018 01:26 PM

CLIFTON PARK - Many students and parents in Clifton Park were on edge Monday after a threat was scrawled on a wall in one of the bathrooms at Shenendehowa High School East.

The threat was posted Friday and warned of a shooting later Monday afternoon.

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In response to the threat, some parents kept their kids home on Monday.

Even before dawn broke, there was an added security presence across the entire Shen campus and around Saratoga County.

"We're always thinking about safety and security – so just kind of reinforcing the things we do on a daily basis," said Ron Agostinoni, the principal of Shen East.

"We cover some 50 public schools in Saratoga County," said Deputy Ken Cooper with the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department. "It's not out of the norm that we're not here every morning – 'cause we are. Today, we've added a few more police cars for presence."

If the threat was a prank, who's to know. In this day and age, there are no pranks.

"It doesn't matter what it is – whether it's on social media, or whether it's something that's written in a bathroom or in a gymnasium, we have to look into it and we have to make sure that we've exhausted all leads, making sure that we've taken care of this threat," said Cooper.

Last week, Troy held an active shooter drill. A couple of days earlier, there was the one-month anniversary of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida. It evoked memories of an actual school shooting in the Capital Region, which happened in 2004 at Columbia High School in East Greenbush.

It's a heightened awareness, the new normal – like it or not.

"Are students being comfortable talking to the adults? I think that relationship we have with students is really probably the best prevention. Then of course, we have the folks coming in – Deputy Cooper and his people coming in to help us out," said Agostinoni.

"We live in a world today that this stuff's happening all over the nation. It's just preparing. Again, we can't make this a prison. It has to still be a teaching environment, but the kids want to feel safe when they come to school every day," said Cooper.

"It is a school. We want our students to learn. We want them to feel safe. We want them to be able to be normal teenagers," said Agostinoni.

The threat mentioned something about 2:45 p.m. That could mean a lot of kids get picked up before that. However, the district was trying to approach this as a normal workday.

If the person who did this is caught, they could be charged with a felony of making a terroristic threat.

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WNYT Staff

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