By Ann Needle
Students and staff at Nashoba Regional High School were dismissed earlier today after a bullet was found on a hallway floor. The building was re-opened to the public about 1:30pm after a thorough search of the school.
The Bolton Police Dept. reported that at about 9:20am, a student discovered a .22 caliber bullet in a hallway. Bolton Police were contacted immediately to investigate. The Police noted that, after that investigation, it determined there was no immediate threat to the public, and the high school was re-opened to all activities (including opening night of “The Addams Family” musical at 7:30pm).
In separate memos to parents both before the early dismissal and after the building was re-opened, NRHS Principal Dr. Parry Graham explained that the bullet was found outside of the Guidance office by a student, who immediately turned it in to the main office. “Following the student dismissal today at 11:00, the Bolton Police, aided by Stow and Lancaster Police and four dogs from the Massachusetts State Police and the Environmental Police Agency, conducted a comprehensive search of the entire building,” he wrote. “They searched each individual room, each individual locker, and all common spaces, and they conducted a sweep of the exterior of the building.”
Nashoba Interim Superintendent Dr. Curtis Bates noted that video footage from hallway security cameras confirmed the student who brought the bullet to the main office had simply spotted it on the hallway floor. He said that Bolton Police will continue going back through earlier footage to see if they can pinpoint how the bullet landed in that spot.
As thorough as the building search may be viewed, Bates stressed that administration decided against taking an even stricter approach. He explained that, when Brookfield had a very similar incident recently, “They put the kids in lock-down for 5 hours, but I didn’t want to do that; sometimes it can just make things worse.”
In his memo following the high school’s re-opening, Graham remarked that Bolton Police will continue to check the building throughout the weekend, and plan on a heightened presence in and around the school next week.
The NRHS crisis team plans to meet over the weekend to develop a plan for students Monday morning, “and we will have supports in place for any students that experience anxiety or concern,” Graham said. “One concern of mine in the aftermath of this type of situation is that students might consider copying the behavior that led to an early dismissal; we will be reminding students that the consequences for bringing ammunition onto a school campus are very significant, up to and including expulsion. And if we determine that the bullet was brought onto campus by a student, the consequences for that student will be significant.”