Student’s ‘hit list’ prompts police response in New Ipswich

  • Mascenic Regional School in New Ipswich. Staff Photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 15, 2018 12:8PM

Police responded to Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich last week for a report from school officials that a student had written a “hit list.”

On Thursday, principal John J. Barth sent a letter home to parents and members of the high school community about the incident.

“During the course of daily events on Thursday October 4th we learned of the existence of a student’s “hit list” that contained the names of three other students. Two of the students attend the high school and one student attends the middle school. When we learned of this we immediately brought the student down to the main office questioning him as to what was going on, why, etc. The New Ipswich Police and this student’s parents were notified and he was removed from the school setting. Disciplinary action has followed which has included a mental health threat assessment used to determine the seriousness of this incident. Calls were also made to the parents of the three students whose names were on the list.”

In an interview Friday, SAU 87 superintendent Dr. Stephen Russell said school officials had not initially intended to notify the school community as a whole. “We made the decision there was no outside risk at either school.”

Russell said that on Oct. 4, school administrators had learned that “a student had been making up a list, as what is commonly referred to as a ‘kill list,’ making up a list of three students he apparently was angry at. Once administrators discovered the list he was brought to the office.”

Police and the student’s parents were also called to the office.

“We investigated the matter and disciplinary action was taken,” Russell said.

The same day school officials also notified the parents of students named on the list.

“At that point we made the decision there really wasn’t any additional risk to anyone in the high school or the middle school and had no other action planned,” Russell said. “Then over the weekend another student posted the name of the author of the list on social media.”

School administrators learned of this at the beginning of the week and at that point school officials decided they had no other choice than to notify the school community by sending a letter home to parents.

“We received a call today from a parent who was upset, feeling that we should have send a letter home immediately,” Russell said.

Russell said, however, school officials didn’t agree the threat existed beyond the three students on the list and the student had taken no other action other than writing it.

“If it weren’t for the social media posting, nothing more would have come of it,” Russell said. “It’s a balancing act between responding and making sure of the safety of the school and of the staff and students, and not overly alarming people.”

Russell said he could not comment on whether the student has returned to school or not, but said disciplinary action was taken and school has been meeting with his parent.

“Again it helps from our perspective knowing the particular individuals involved,” Russell said. “Even today I don’t think there is any broader or larger threat existing.”