SALAMANCA — The Salamanca City Central School District buildings were closed Monday following reports of a violent threat by minors toward the school.
At 8:45 p.m. Sunday, Salamanca police notified district officials of what was believed to be a credible violent threat directed by a group of Salamanca students involving weapons, said Superintendent Robert Breidenstein.
Following a police investigation, Breidenstein told the Salamanca Press Monday afternoon that there in fact had not been a threat to bring any weapons to school.
“Any threat made against the district or students is taken in extreme seriousness,” he said. “The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is one of our highest priorities.”
The police has given the district the all clear to resume classes Tuesday, Breidenstein said.
According to Breidenstein, a verbal threat was made off school grounds at the Highland Avenue playground Sunday afternoon by two Salamanca students towards another group of students that involved an airsoft pistol. He said the pistol had since been secured.
Breidenstein said the threats made were not directed at specific students for a specific reason, to the best of the district’s knowledge.
The school district has been working closely with the Salamanca Police Department and Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office to identify two students, whose information has not been disclosed, and provide additional supports to both the threatened students and law enforcement, Breidenstein said.
“Both law enforcement agencies have really done a remarkable job and should be commended for the prompt and thorough investigation and their interagency cooperatiion,” he said. “They truly put public safety as a priority.”
After consulting with the Salamanca Police Department and district administration Sunday night, the threat was deemed credible enough at the time to close schools and all activities Monday.
As the investigation went on late Sunday and early Monday, the district learned some of the families and parties involved in the incident were not cooperating with law enforcement, Breidenstein said, which led the district to elevate its credibility assessment of the threat.
“Our approach was if we cannot verify that it is not a threat, we determined with our protocols that it is a threat,” he explained. “Until we could confirm that we were safe, we were operating under the assumption that we needed to take extreme measures.”
Further action, criminal or legal, may be pending, Breidenstein said. All inquiries regarding such actions are referred to Salamanca police at 945-2330.
Breidenstein said there will be additional school disciplinary sanctions placed on the two students for the disruption to school operations and public safety.
“I want to commend the Salamanca police, our school resource officers for the sheriff’s department and our school administrators,” he said. “We mobilized pretty quickly late at night and into the early morning hours to make sure we had all the facts to make sure kids were safe and there wasn’t a potential violent event that occurred in the city.”