More Than a Dozen Mass. Schools Receive Threats

More than a dozen bomb threats at schools across Massachusetts Monday morning led to evacuations for some schools and left students sheltering in place in other schools.

"For so many communities to be affected it's disturbing," Brookline Police Deputy Superintendent Michael Gropman said

Brookline was one of at least 16 communities where a threat was called in. Many were automated calls similar to the dozens of threats at area schools back in January.

The other affected schools include those in Billerica, Stoneham, Cambridge, Hudson, Belmont, Leominster, Ayer, Hopkinton, Tewksbury, Lexington, Charlestown, Melrose, Fitchburg, Marlborough, and Wakefield.

"It gets these kids to be frightened for no real reason because they have no idea whether it's real or not," parent Scott Elba said.

"It really is frustrating that somebody is taking advantage of technology and hacking into places that should be just safe and getting done what they need to do," parent Joni Burstein said.

Not only are parents frustrated, but students say they're getting sick of the interruption to their classes.

"We were actually in the middle of a test that we were taking for our class and usually this you of thing doesn't really interrupt the day but this is like something that we've been studying hard for," Brookline senior Ben Thomas said.

"Take necessary precautions to make sure it's safe, but don't take too many to keep the students waiting while they could be getting a good education," freshman Yuli Burstein said.

But state and local police say they have to take each school threat seriously, oftentimes deploying resources that are needed for emergencies elsewhere.

"It's a danger to the community, we had a serious car accident where a car went into a tree and actually one of the fire units that's supposed to respond to that was over at the high school," Deputy Supt. Gropman said,

In the first three months of this school year, the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad have responded to 29 threats, compared to six in 2015 and eight in 2014 in the same time frame.

The FBI, state and local police say they take hoax threats like these very seriously and will prosecute suspects to the fullest extent of the law.

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