Bullet Holes Discovered at Massachusetts Elementary School
Some Hood Elementary School parents are unhappy with the way they were notified after a teacher discovered gunshot damage to the campus’s portable addition on Monday morning.
- By Jessica Davis
- April 10, 2019
Police are investigating after the Monday morning discovery of gunfire damage to Hood Elementary School’s portable classroom addition. Some parents are unhappy that they weren’t notified about the damage until the end of the school day.
According to reports, the damage was discovered by a teacher Monday morning, and it looked like the damage took place over the weekend. Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary said the school hasn’t received a threat, but police will be present at the campus for at least the rest of the week while the investigation continues.
“The safety of staff and students is of utmost importance to us,” Mageary said at a community meeting for Hood School parents Monday evening. “We’re going to make sure your kids are safe.”
Parents were concerned about the notification process as well as the school’s alarm system. The shooting occurred during the weekend, but the gunshots didn’t set off the alarm and police were not aware of the incident until the damage was found by a teacher on Monday.
“It’s very stressful knowing that this happened and I wasn’t notified until the end,” parent Gabrielle Collins told The Item after the meeting. ““I wish there was a better system to notify us, because this is something serious and we should, as parents, have the knowledge that if we feel our kids are threatened, we should keep them home or send them to school. That should be our opinion and that wasn’t the case. I didn’t get the notification until 1:45 this afternoon so it kind of freaked me out a little bit.”
Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler said that the administration intentionally sent the automated all-call to parents late in the day, as they felt an earlier call could result in parents coming to the school and disrupting the administration’s goal of providing a normal school day for students.
“We really believe there is great comfort for students in the normal routine of the school day,” Tutwiler said. “We reserve all calls during the school day for situations wherein there’s immediate danger. I’m not trying to marginalize its importance, but at no point during the school day at Hood School were students in danger.”
The Hood Elementary teacher discovered the gunshot damage in one of the classrooms of the portable addition to the school at about 8 a.m. Monday. Gunshots had been fired through the walls and windows, and spent ammunition was found. The school’s principal Gayle Dufour was called, and police, Tutwiler and Police Officer Oren Wright, the school safety and emergency planning liason were notified.
The school’s three kindergarten classes are housed in the portable. Tutwiler said there were no students in the portable at any point on Monday; kindergarten students were moved first to the auditorium and then to the main building’s two technology labs for the rest of the school day.
According to Mageary, the preliminary investigation indicated that people may have heard shots fired at the school but didn’t report them to law enforcement. There have been a number of shots-fired incidents throughout the city during the last week, but police do not currently believe there is a threat posed to Hood Elementary School.
“I think the idea [of the police presence this week] is to provide some calm, a sense of things are OK and there’s support here,” Tutwiler said. “I think that’s really what that’s about, but it seems to me based on timing and sort of the random nature of the incident, that this was not an attempt to hurt anyone.”