Officials at Middlebury Union Middle School are crediting an alert student with stopping a potential school shooting before the alleged plot could be carried out.
“Everybody sort of did what we’d hope they’d do,” said Addison Central School District Board Chairman Peter Conlon. “A student heard something and found a trusted adult and told that adult, who alerted authorities, and authorities worked hard and did what they were supposed to do.”
The student called authorities Saturday after overhearing two students discussing a plan to shoot a fourth student.
By Monday, said Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley, police had identified the 14-year-old students, who were pulled from class and face juvenile court proceedings.
Staff and students were notified of the incident in an email from Central School District Superintendent Peter Burrows, who said the students wil not be allowed to return until they are “found to be safe by someone with expertise in making those assessments.”.
Maija Chamberlain, a parent of two students who attend the school, said that while the alleged threat was concerning, she still feels safe sending her kids to school.
“I think there’s all sorts of things that can make us afraid,” Chamberlain said. “It was encouraging to get the note from the superintendent just to know that they have procedures in place, and I drove by this morning and saw two police cars in the parking lot and knew that they were heightening everything.”
Police are withholding the names of the two suspects because of their age. They said the student who allegedly wanted to carry out the shooting is in the custody of the Vermont Department for Children & Families and undergoing a mental health evaluation.
Hanley said police executed an ‘extreme risk order’ at the home of a relative of one of the suspects and seized more than 10 weapons, mostly hunting rifles and handguns.
It is the second time this year law enforcement in Vermont has thwarted a potential school shooting. In February, police intervened when they learned a Fair Haven High School student was planning a shooting.