Westport student arrested for threatening violence

Westport student arrested for threatening violence

By Alex Reiner ’18

A Westport Public School student was arrested Wednesday, Sept. 6 for a violent threat made towards the school system in an online gaming chat.

The threat occurred in late August and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) traced the remark to a Westport Public School student. The threat of violence was for Friday, Sept. 8.

“At the end of the day it looks like it was a bad joke gone horribly wrong,” Principal James D’Amico said. “People make mistakes and there are consequences for actions.”

Since the arrest, the student has  been interviewed by both the FBI and Westport investigators. The Westport Police Department investigated the case and deemed the threat not credible, according to Superintendent Colleen Palmer in an email to Westport Public School parents.

D’Amico addressed the teachers before school on Sept. 7 where he reiterated Palmer’s email and informed the teachers that if any of their students were “visibly upset” there were counselors and administrators they could talk to.

“I was shocked because I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before at our school,” Julia Pines ’18 said. “Even though it wasn’t credible, it is still scary to think about.”

D’Amico said that he would not have allowed school to open if the students and faculty would be at risk.

“The Westport Police Department has been working closely with Westport Public School administrators and we are confident the safety of students is not in jeopardy,” Lieutenant Jillian Cabana, police spokesman, said in the Westport Police Department’s press release. “Additionally, the school administration will be addressing the issue and following up with appropriate disciplinary action.”

Claudia Guetta ’18 believes that the student should face consequences. “As detrimental as it can be to someone to get arrested, there definitely needs to be a punishment to these actions because it puts the safety of so many people at risk,” she said. “If there isn’t a consequence, situations like these could escalate or be more common.”

This opinion is common among students at Staples. Andrew Moy ’19 said that students need to learn about this case to make sure it “doesn’t happen again.”

The student has been charged with breaching the peace in the second degree, 53a-181 and threatening in the second degree, 53a-62. The identification of the student was not released with the press statement.