HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Security is heightened at Holyoke High School after a written threat was found in a bathroom and now, parents are on high alert, with some choosing to keep their children home from school on Wednesday.
School officials told us there was extra police presence at the school today and they will be back again tomorrow. We have also learned from the Holyoke Police Department the threat was found inside a girl's bathroom.
Emotions are high among Holyoke High School families.
“Not only her, but myself. We were a bit freaked out about the whole thing,” said Vanessa Tirado.
On Tuesday, families were alerted by email that graffiti had been discovered in a bathroom at the high school that read ‘school shooting 10/14/2021’.
Western Mass News obtained a copy of that email. School officials said, in-part:
“Out of an abundance of caution and for the reassurance of students, staff and families, we will have additional police presence at Holyoke High School north campus Wednesday and Thursday.”
Tirado added, “There’s so many shootings happening at other schools around the United States…It’s crazy to actually hear about it from home, where you have your kids. It’s very unsettling and scary.”
Parents are concerned for the safety of their children. Just last week, students protested after sexual assault allegations came to light.
“Now something else, what’s going to be next?” Tirado noted.
The city’s acting mayor, Terry Murphy, told us they are not taking any chances and are taking this threat very seriously.
“We are doing all we can,” Murphy explained.
Murphy is working to prevent any catastrophic events at the Holyoke High School north campus.
“We’ve tried to look at is there something that sparked the incident…which created the threat,” Murphy added.
In response, school officials and the Holyoke Police Department heightened security immediately.
“We are going to make sure cover every concept, every idea, every suggestion. We are going to make sure we have extra police presence there today and tomorrow,” Murphy noted.
Murphy told Western Mass News that the city is working to find out who is behind the threat.
“We are doing all we can and we do think we will find out what happened,” Murphy explained.
Murphy wanted to remind the school body that while this investigation is underway, it’s important to maintain respectful relationships with each other.
“Both from student to other student and from student to administrator and administrator to student, that respect is mutual, that we understand there are consequences and we gotta try to make sure that as you go to school, you learn and part of learning and we are going to continue to demonstrate that,” Murphy said.
Tirado, a Holyoke parent, chose to keep her daughter home on Wednesday in fear of what could happen.
“I rather keep her home for my own sake and reassurance and especially for her safety,” Tirado said.
Her daughter told Western Mass News that anxiety has been high among many of her classmates.
“These past couple of weeks in school have been rough,” said Jinessa Soto.
The Holyoke Police Department said they do not take these types of threats lightly and an investigation is underway.
[Reporer: Will you go to school tomorrow?]
“I don’t know,” Soto said.