CBS 3 Springfield was first to break this story for you Thursday, and we've learned that the two students accused of sending the threats have been suspended. Natalie Tolomeo has been digging deeper and has the story you'll Only See on 3.
Belchertown school officials and Police Chief Francis Fox have confirmed action was taken after Thursday's hit list went out on Facebook. CBS 3 spoke with the parents of one student on that list, and they say this isn't the first time the threats came through the Internet. The parents tell CBS 3 the same students have been sending threatening emails for months.
Belchertown High School sits quietly on Springfield Road on Thursday night, but earlier in the day there was commotion between classes.
"All I heard was, 'What's going on? What's going on?' Teachers were telling everyone to stay in their classrooms and not use the bathroom. They said for us to just stay calm and not do anything. (Teachers told us officials) would figure out what's going on," says Kelsey Fenn, a student at Belchertown High School.
Belchertown police searched the school lockers and questioned some students Thursday after a parent notified the cops about a Facebook message their child received threatening the student's life. The parents of a victim, they say is one of five other freshmen victims, tell CBS 3 the students have received alarming Facebook messages since July. The parents say two freshman boys have been targeting the five for months now. But Thursday, the parents tell CBS 3 those threats worsened. They say the messages listed names and their ranking on the two teens' hit list. The messages said the students were going to gut the targeted five and slash their throats.
Some Belchertown parents whose children are unrelated to these messages, like Paul Fenn, are also on high alert.
"It's frightening, it's frightening," he says. "Since the Columbine shootings and the copycat shootings, it's frightening. With things like this, you can't just fool around."
Paul's daughter Kelsey knows the two students the victim's parents say have been sending the messages.
"I kind of expected it because they were kind of like this over the past years. They weren't really sociable," she says.
Sociable or not, social media was used to threaten five students repeatedly, according to parents CBS 3 spoke with. Now, police and school officials are investigating.
"It's definitely a threat you can take into consideration because it was done over the Internet and now it's being brought into school," Kelsey says. "It's definitely a weird experience for high school."
"It can happen anywhere. I'm not completely surprised that it happened in Belchertown," says Paul.
Parents of a victim say the two teens that have been sending the messages have been suspended for five days. Police are investigating but haven't charged anyone yet. Friday, some of the parents of the victims will be meeting with school officials to further discuss the situation.
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