April 4: Swatting threat update

Dear Mohonasen Parents, Faculty, and Staff,

I am writing to provide a further update regarding the “swatting” threats I contacted you about earlier today.  The specific threats included two posts to Twitter from the same source.  One threat showed a gun and a loaded ammunition clip and indicated, “@MohonCSD count your days 4/5/23 1:00 PM bradt primary school.  I have some unfinished business…” and the second post showed a Minion (from the children’s movie Despicable Me) shouting and the text “Active Shooter In In the Building” displayed over the image.  Although we reported the tweets to Twitter to have them removed, apparently this can be a frustratingly slow process.  Law enforcement is also unable to speed that process up as I certainly asked about them doing that.  Because the tweets are still available, they have been copied and shared through various social media platforms and are currently causing quite a panic.  I have actually been unable to keep up with the deluge of emails and contacts from those of you who are sending and sharing concerns or pictures of such posts.  There are teachers afraid to come to school, parents afraid to send their children, and community members and relatives who are highly concerned and worried.

The police have shared some of their investigation with me and I am able to share that information with you as well.  The posts have been discredited and deemed not to be credible.  The picture of the gun and clip are actually taken from stock photos readily available on the internet, so they do not represent an actual local gun.  The IP address, which the police and FBI are following up on, are from outside of our region, so the threats were not posted from any local source.  The second threat of an active shooter is similar to the previous threat I reported on several days ago, the one stating that there were 7 current shots fired in our High School.  That was demonstrably false as our SRO and I were in the High School at the time.  Similarly, today’s threat (actually posted last night, but not reported or discovered until this afternoon) about an active shooter was demonstrably false; there was no active shooter at Mohonasen.  The Rotterdam Police Department, the NYS Police, and the FBI do not believe either of the posts represent any kind of credible threat to Mohonasen.

Even though we have ample reason to believe none of the threats are in any way credible, being a parent myself in a world where terrible things such as school shootings do happen, I certainly understand being concerned.  The Rotterdam Police Department has indicated they will have a police presence at Bradt and Pinewood tomorrow, including being inside the buildings at times (including for Morning Program at Bradt) and including being in near proximity to both buildings.  This is in addition to our normal contingency of security monitors and our School Resource Officer who is most often on our main campus (Draper and the High School).

I suspect enrollment will be down significantly tomorrow, especially at Bradt, and I certainly understand if parents should decide to keep their child(ren) home.  For those of you who choose to send your child(ren) tomorrow, please know that all schools, including Bradt, will be safe, as they are on any given school day, and actually safer due to additional police presence and patrols.

Yours in Service,

Shannon Shine, Superintendent