SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) -- Police will have an increased presence at all Scituate schools until the end of the school year next week following a threat at the high school and middle school building Wednesday morning.
According to an alert from the school department, a parent told the principal students were overheard talking about a "school shooting" that might occur at 12 p.m. Wednesday.
Students were told to shelter in place at 9:45 a.m., meaning they had to remain in their classrooms until further notice. School officials said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution.
During an afternoon news conference, police said they received a "reliable threat." However, they would not confirm the school department's account of the threat.
Scituate, Coventry and Rhode Island State Police responded to the school and - with the help of a K-9 and SWAT team - performed a sweep of the building and the grounds. Police said nothing suspicious was located.
Once the building was cleared, students were released to their parents around 1:30 p.m.
"We are extremely concerned that an individual or group of individuals created a sense of fear among the students, teachers and staff at Scituate High School and Middle School," Chief Donald R. Delaere, Jr. said. "We want to send a strong message to those behind these threats – that these actions will not be tolerated. We will identify, arrest and prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law."
Police reminded students and parents to report any rumors or information regarding possible school threats to Scituate police and state police.
"Law enforcement takes these threats very seriously," said Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety. "We want to assure the residents of Scituate, and the rest of Rhode Island, that we will do everything we can to help keep our schools and communities safe."
When asked, police would not make any comparisons to a suspicious package that forced the evacuation of the school about two months ago. Two people were charged in that case.
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