Report: Teacher, school board member resign over unsafe response to shooting threat by nine-year-old

By Guy Page

A Woodstock Elementary School teacher and a school board member have resigned over what they say is a dangerous school environment caused by the administration’s poor handling of a nine-year-old who threatened to shoot and kill another student, the local weekly newspaper reports. 

Teacher “Stephanie Petrarca, and a Woodstock representative to the WCSU School Board, Todd Ulman, have both submitted their resignations over what they contend is an inadequate response of school administrators to last week’s incident,” the Vermont Standard reported Feb. 2. 

Administrators are remaining silent on details, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, Ulman told the paper he and his wife are pulling their children from the school, “citing ongoing safety concerns and alleged, persistent disciplinary shortcomings on the part of school administrators,” the Vermont Standard reported. 

Details are sketchy but it appears that a nine-year-old boy threatened to put another child “in the ground.” 

In a media statement, Patrarca wrote: “Last week, on Jan. 24, the unthinkable happened: a direct, plausible threat of gun violence was made by a student. As soon as the report was made to a staff member at our school, staff and faculty jumped into action to ensure the safety of all children and I applaud them for their quick thinking. Unfortunately, once the administrative team, consisting of principal Maggie Mills and superintendent Sherry Sousa took over, the response began to feel less urgent and more opaque.”

The award-winning Vermont Standard is Windsor County’s largest, and the state of Vermont’s oldest, weekly newspaper. It serves the towns of Woodstock, Barnard, Bridgewater, Hartland, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading, Quechee, and West Windsor.

Categories: Education

3 replies »

  1. Back in the day, the sixties-eighties, one kid saying such to another kid, was much ado about nothing. Was there even a gun? Yes, this whole event, response and all, is “opaque.”

    • Guns are no longer needed to cause hysteria and panic just the same words in every day entertainment that no one seems to be upset about. Kids mimic what they see and hear.

  2. There is an obligation to transparency. This is almost moot in these times.