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Shelter in place initiated at 3 Waterbury schools following more online threats

Since last Tuesday, Waterbury Public Schools have faced a series of threats made online, one of them ending in an arrest.

WATERBURY, Conn. — On Tuesday, Waterbury's Enlightenment School and Jonathan Reed PreK-8 School started the day off under a shelter-in-place after yet another social media threat was found by school administrators on Monday night. 

It's one in a handful of threats the district has faced since last Tueday.

A spokesperson for Waterbury Police said they would have an extra police presence at both schools, which are right across from one another, all day long following the threat. The schools also planned to keep the kids inside all day, not allowing any outdoor activities. 

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Administrators alerted parents Monday night about the threat once they were made aware of it on social media. The post referenced both Reed and Enlightenment Schools.

Waterbury Police say the threat is under investigation.

This is not the only online threat Waterbury Public Schools has seen over the last week. Since last Tuesday, the district has received several, one ending in an arrest. 

As Reed and Enlightenment were under a shelter-in-place on Tuesday, another threat was received at Crosby High School. 

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Waterbury police said the threat was posted online and as a precaution, the school has been placed under a shelter-in-place. There will also be an extra police presence at the school all day today.

On Monday of this week, Enlightenment and Reed schools had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat to Enlightenment School. Police say the school was safely evacuated and the incident is still under investigation. 

Last Tuesday, Kennedy High School went through the same thing. They were safely evacuated because of an anonymous bomb threat. 

Last Thursday, another threatening message was directed at Waterbury Arts Magnet School, which led to the arrest of a 17-year-old. Police say the suspect is not a student at the school.

And lastly, on Friday, there was a threat at Crosby High School, making Tuesday's threat the second in less than a week.

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Parents are concerned about this trend, and they even have trouble deciding whether they should send their kids to school today.

“Fearful. How about if this time, it’s not a hoax? Because this is not something to play with. You know?" said Nancy Rodriguez, a Waterbury mom. "But, on the other hand, [her son] needs to learn; he needs his education. So, whoever is doing this should be held accountable," 

While the Connecticut State Police are not involved in the recent threat investigations in Waterbury, they do have an entire intelligence center looking into posts like this regularly.

A spokesperson for state police said threats made online would be taken very seriously, and they can result in serious consequences. It could end in federal and state charges. But, they can't do it all alone. Getting help from the public also helps.

"We want individuals to, under the 'see something say something.' So if students know of another student that’s doing this type of hoax call to inform law enforcement or somebody that they trust that can inform us," said Sgt. Christine Jeltema with the Connecticut State Police.

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Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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