Home News and Features Details Emerge on Alleged Montpelier High School Threat

Details Emerge on Alleged Montpelier High School Threat

photo of Montpelier High school with blooming apple tree
Montpelier High School in spring. Photo courtesy MHS website.
An 18-year-old male student may no longer attend Montpelier High School this year, after reports he made threats against Montpelier High School, and Montpelier Police seized guns and ammunition from his home last week, according to Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete and a letter from Montpelier Roxbury Public School District Superintendent Libby Bonesteel.

On May 26, the Montpelier Police Department issued an updated press release about the situation, stating: “On May 17, 2022, The Montpelier Police Department acted on information received from Montpelier High School staff regarding an alleged threat to the High School. 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 the Subject’s private residence. The firearms are legally owned.”

In a letter to the school district community Bonesteel wrote: “An incredibly brave student and staff members came forward to the administration regarding threats they heard made by a student against the school. 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.”

Asked why there was more than a week’s delay between learning of the alleged threat and informing the community, Peete told The Bridge “Had I thought there was an imminent threat and arrests were made, that information would have gone out as soon as possible.”

“We do our best to maintain transparency with the community,” he continued. “Understanding the emotion and everything that’s going on – the grief and confusion [about the mass shootings]  in Texas and New York  – this is sensitive to everyone that’s involved.  I can understand how some folks may feel about that. Ultimately …this was a potential threat … the celebration is how the school acted and how the officers responded.”

The press release issued on May 27 also states that “No weapon incidents occurred at the High School or any Montpelier Schools, nor does MPD have any evidence that the confiscated weapons were ever on school grounds. 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. No arrests have been made as the investigation is ongoing. MPD has no information that suggests any racially-based motivation.

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

On the subject of a possible imminent threat at the school, Peete said in a telephone interview “If my daughter was in high school, I’d send her to high school.”

Bonesteel ended her letter with a note of gratitude, and resources for parents about how to talk to kids about gun violence.

“I would like to publicly thank not only the individuals who came forward quickly when they heard very concerning language, but also the officers at the Montpelier Police Department,” she wrote. “MPD worked fast to protect our school and took considerable time with the administration as they patiently answered our questions. They are a true and valued partner in keeping our students and staff safe.”

Bonesteel also encouraged parents and teachers to reach out to the school’s social work team and school counselors in order to work with students who may be struggling amidst this and other national news about gun violence.