Police Reports

Two Vermont high schools that kicked school cops off campus now facing shooter threats

Montpelier discontinued onsite SRO due to concerns about causing trauma to students

School resource officer – photocredit edc.gov.us

by Guy Page

Both school districts of the two Vermont high schools subjected to recent alleged school shooter threats have opted within the last two years to not have a school resource officer on the school premises.

In the aftermath of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, Texas perpetrated by disturbed teenagers, Vermont police and school officials have investigated reports of potential shootings at the Derby Junior High School, Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, and Montpelier High School. 

No arrests have been made. In one incident, firearms were seized at the home of an 18-year-old. 

There are no school resource officers – AKA cops regularly working inside the school – in Montpelier schools, Police Chief Brian Peete confirmed to Vermont Daily Chronicle this afternoon. The school board opted in August, 2020 to keep the school resource officer out of the school, due to concerns that students of color might feel traumatized by the presence of a police officer, according to an August 25 2020 Times-Argus news report (“No Room for Resource Officer”). A later news report said the SRO was welcome to come if called, but otherwise would not be welcome on campus. 

Champlain Valley Union High School hasn’t had a school resource officer since its supervisory school board’s February 2021 decision to not have a resource officer. Instead, a staff member is tasked with conducting threat assessments and liasing with local police. 

The Burlington School District also restricted SRO access to school property. A Senate bill that would have prohibited school resource officers was introduced in 2021 but did not progress. School resource officers became popular after well-publicized school shootings, but came under criticism along with other police after the killing of George Floyd in May, 2020. The planned school shooting at Fair Haven in 2018 was foiled with the help of the school resource officer.

Montpelier – a week ago Tuesday, on May 17, Montpelier Police acted on information received from Montpelier High School staff regarding an alleged threat to the high school, Chief Peete said in a statement issued today. 

The incident involved an 18-year-old male. MPD applied for, and was granted, an Extreme Risk Protection Order. Officers made contact with the subject and seized a 7mm .08 Hunting Rifle, an AR-type .22 rifle, magazines and ammunition from his home. The firearms are legally owned. 

MPD understands the Montpelier Roxbury Public School (MRPS) District has taken steps regarding the subject’s access to the High School and MRPS buildings. 

No weapon incidents occurred at the hiigh school or any Montpelier schools, nor does MPD have any evidence that the confiscated weapons were ever on school grounds, Peete said.

MPD has no indication or information that there was or is an imminent threat to the school, staff, students, or the public relating to this incident, the chief said.

No arrests have been made as the investigation is ongoing. MPD has no information that suggests any racially-based motivation.

Montpelier-Roxbury superintendent Libby Bonesteel told school district parents in a May 25 letter that they were not immediately informed of the incident due to a desire to protect the informant.

“An incredibly brave student and staff members came forward to the administration regarding threats they heard made by a student against the school,” Bonesteel said. “The MPD was contacted and took swift action. After a protective order was issued, the MPD confiscated two weapons and ammunition from the home. The student in question will not return to MHS this school year and is cooperating with officials. We did not announce this event publicly in the hopes that we could protect the people who came forward with information.”

MPD has been conducting directed patrols and is paying special attention at the High School (as well as at other city schools). MPD is working closely with the Washington County States Attorney’s office, and continues to communicate with federal, state, and regional law enforcement.

Hinesburg – May 25, 2022, at 9:30 pm, the Hinesburg Police Department received information on a threat to Champlain Valley Union High School, Police Chief Anthony Cambridge reported on a social media post.

A father of a CVU student contacted the school to advise that a Burlington High School student made a threat against his daughter, her friends, and the school. The message stated that the Burlington student threatened to “shoot up the school”, and further advised that he possesses a handgun. 

As a potentially credible threat, Hinesburg Police in conjunction with Vermont State Police, Burlington PD, and CVU started an investigation into the matter. We were informed by Burlington PD that officers had gone to the home of the Burlington student and were advised by his parents that he does not own a handgun. 

The matter is still under investigation, and police will be at school today. “If you see something or hear something about a possible threat, say something, even if you don’t feel it may be credible,” Cambridge said. Call 802-482-3397 or after hours at 802-985-8051. 

Derby – state police were contacted Friday, May 20 by staff at Derby Junior High School about an alleged threat made to the school by a student. State police initiated a response coordinating with school officials and community resources.

State police said Saturday it does not appear to be a credible threat. However, investigation is ongoing and parents and community members were instructed to  expect to see an increased police presence at the school this week.

Categories: Police Reports

11 replies »

  1. I personally spoke to Chief Peete about the school resource officer position at Montpelier on one of the Chief’s Zoom meetings. I had advocated for it because of my many years seeing it work well in the Montpelier School District. To my recollection Chief Peete was definitely for maintaining that position. He must have been overruled by the Ministry of School Truth or Consequences. By the way did anyone notice that the MPD stated that they have no evidence that there was or is any imminent threat to school, students, staff or the public from this incident? So, how was it possible to grant the Extreme Risk Protection Order?

    • It was possible because they can now override our constitutional right of protection against illegal search and seizure and act on the simple accusation of an “illegal thought”.

  2. Why are “we”catering to those that might be offended?? With the uptick in shootings, it says a lot about the people doing the “teaching”! Keep it to the 3 R’s and your personal beliefs out of the mix and there may just be a positive change.

  3. After doing more research, I’ve reconsidered my recommendation for armed guards and locked downed schools. I’m not recommending against armed guards or heightened visual security. But research over the last 20 years or so demonstrates that allowing school staff, be they teachers, maintenance workers, or service staff, to conceal-carry firearms on their person while at school is, by far and away, the most effective deterrent to a would-be assailant.

    Preamble: “Within hours of mass public shootings, even before we know how the shooter obtained his gun,
    there are immediate calls for laws such as universal background checks. Ironically, there is not
    one mass public shooting this century that would have been stopped by universal background
    checks, even with a perfectly enforced law.”

    While the safety of our children is worth any price:

    ● “[p]utting a guard in every school is also very costly. Florida is spending over $400 million a year to put one police officer in each public school.”

    ● “Allowing teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns is nothing new in the United States, and hasn’t created any problems. Before the early 1990s, there were no state laws specifically restricting concealed carry on K-12 property so that teacher carry may have been common for much of our history.”

    ● “School insurance rates are no higher for schools that allow teachers to carry.”

    ● “A couple of facts immediately become apparent. There hasn’t been a single mass public shooting in any school that allows teachers and staff to carry guns legally. Since at least as far back as January 2000, not a single shooting-related death or injury has occurred during or anywhere near class hours on the property of a school that allows teachers to carry.”

    ● “Having a single entrance with a metal detector creates its own safety hazards by leading to
    crowded bottlenecks of people that present easy targets to attackers. Metal detectors won’t
    stop someone from shooting their way into a school.”

    ● “… if attackers don’t know who is carrying a concealed firearm, they won’t know whom they
    need to attack first. Perhaps because police understand the difficulty of their jobs, they are strongly in favor of
    abolishing gun-free school zones.”

    This information is based on research conducted over the last 20 years. If anyone has any data supporting an alternative these findings, speak now. Otherwise, we know what must be done.

    https://crimeresearch.org/2019/05/major-new-research-on-school-safety-schools-that-allow-teachers-to-carry-guns-havent-seen-school-shootings-during-school-hours/

  4. The current batch of liberals and elitists running around demanding “gun control” have no desire to actually solve the root causes of these tragedies. We all see it, we all know different.
    “Emotional trauma” caused by a SRO or Police officer in a school? Liberal gaslighting.
    Real trauma will be the result if we continue to acquiesce to those too easily offended by everything and we ignore mental illness and continue to ignore the need to safeguard schools and other events from those that seek to destroy human life. In the aftermath of 2018’s Parkland Florida school shooting, the Vermont legislature demanded action, debated action and legislated little action- again ignoring the root causes. The outcome was a gun seizure law and restrictions on new large capacity magazines. A mere finger in the dam, without any action on mental health issues.
    In 2022, Vermont still lacks in-patient mental health beds, due to UVMMC’s recent reversal of their decision to build and staff a facility. In four years, virtually nothing has been done by a super-majority liberal legislature to solve this issue, except fund studies.
    Is it not way past time to address this issue from another, less liberal direction?
    Mr. Eshelman’s points, as well as a myriad of other practical ideas demand consideration next January, should a legislature be convened that can actually think for themselves and not be coerced by lobbyists and donors.

  5. Thank you, Jay, for doing your homework. It provides a middleground. Not that I think the BIPOC should be catered to on this or the BLM flag issues, but economically it makes sense to consider your suggestion. A teacher or two in each building that have been trained for handling gun emergencies, would ease community concerns to protect the children without draining our much needed police force. If people knew there were such people on the staff, it could act as a deterent – maybe a parked retired police car out front could be added, too.

  6. As demanded, there were “resource officers” in several Vermont schools in response to the Sand Hook incident. After the ruckus in Minneapolis, “students demanding action” called for them to be removed, as the presence of uniformed authority “could trigger anxiety in students, particularly those of Color”… The democrats, the media and many school officials have conspired to convince youngsters that the police are a bigger threat to their safety than mentally disturbed individuals hell-bent on mass violence.

  7. it is crazy to say police involvement at schools causes anxiety; the nation has made it a color issue, which is BS…an ongoing visit from law enforcement will bridge this supposed divide (oh yea our leaders want us divided…) that exists predominately related to the rhetoric spewed by major media (owned by gov, gov owned by major medic..makes no difference)…
    it doesnt matter what color skin one has, building that bridge from kids to law enforcement is needed now. I have a son who went into law enforcement because of an outreach program with law enforcement…why does everyone want to see this as a negative? where is the common sense factor gone to?
    and i agree; someone in the schools needs to be carrying…….

  8. Our President, our Senators, Our Representatives Our Govenor, Our courts, Our airports, are all protected with officials with guns. But our children are not ! School is a No-Gun Zone, except for people fixated on doing harm, because they don’t pay attention to laws. They are quite aware there will be no opposition going to a school. YET, the media (and others) choose to blame the NRA. Politicians who support the Constitution. We know what NO GUN laws produce, look at Chicago. But left leaning politicians and school boards want to Blame Shift, instead of taking responsibility. It is fortunate that Vermont has no law prohibiting concealed weapons, and criminals no this. Not legal in Federal and State buildings (but that is already secured by an authority with a gun. EXCEPT OUR SCHOOLS ! We live in a land full of idiots

  9. This is all being done to remove your right to protect yourself from the very people willing to take it from you. You only need to look at the history of any other country to find out what happens after they remove the firearms, it’s almost entirely proceeded by mass death perpetrated by the very government that removed them. Make no mistake, the PResident said it himself it’s about vilifying gun owners:

    “For so many of you at home, I want to be very clear: This is not about taking away anyone’s guns. It’s about vili- – not about vilifying gum [sic] – gun owners.” (directly quoted from c-span)

    There are so many issues right now and they only target the ones that are going to give them more power over you whether this is by removing your firearms or continuing their “Reign” in office. They certainly are not focusing on the ones that are going to starve you or your baby to death or allow our borders to be overrun.

    After all how could they tell you that they have printed your wealth out of existence?

    How could they tell you that 50+ huge food manufacturing facilities have been burnt to the ground or had planes fly into them or that there is very little wheat left in the world?

    How could they tell you that they have legislated you out of your right to travel freely and to put food on the table?

    How could they tell you that they had supported and gifted a world war on your doorstep with your own money?

    All you have to do is listen to Biden’s speech yesterday honestly and without allowing your heart to be pulled on. Listen to it as it is, a pre-written speech to persuade you into their agenda. It’s a long list of leftist goals again to further their power either by extending it or by removing your own “power over your lives” which some might still call “Freedom”.

    Even his little bit on mental health which should be the focus of every gun crime, is designed to give more control to the government and less to the people and in this case specifically the parents.

    Just listen:

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?520721-1/president-biden-addresses-nation-mass-shootings

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