No incidents as LHS operates under heightened security

LACONIA — Following the discovery of messages scrawled on bathroom walls last week that spoke of a shooting at Laconia High School on June 10, final examinations were held yesterday without incident amid an increased police presence and under tight security measures.

Only one entrance to the building was open. The entrance facing Union Avenue way was cordoned off with police tape and all doors were locked. Students were instructed not to carry backpacks to school and asked to empty their pockets and open their purses on entering the building.

Teachers and administrators escorted students to their classrooms and, when necessary, to the restroom. Lunch was served to everyone in the cafeteria at the same time and the building was cleared by 2 p.m.

Tuesday was a final exam day for freshman, sophomores and juniors. The senior class has already graduated.

Beyond confirming that the school building and property were secured for the day and an unspecified number of police were deployed at all the schools, Police Chief Chris Adams said that "we wanted to make staff, parents and students safe and everything has run smoothly." He said a police presence will be maintained at the city's schools throughout the week.

Last week two messages were found at the High School, which though somewhat unclear could be taken to threaten a shooting at the school yesterday. School Superintendent Terri Forsten said that the first message was discovered on Friday, May 30 and the second on Wednesday, June 4. She described the first message as "cryptic, but the second as "more clear," adding that it referred specifically to June 10.
In a formal statement Forsten said that the messages were being investigated and meanwhile school would open on Tuesday, June 10 with "an increased police presence throughout the school day at Laconia High School." Twice in her statement she said that neither school nor police officials considered the messages to represent a "credible" threat to the safety of students, teachers or staff.
Captain Matt Canfield said that police have reviewed video footage as well as spoken to students and teachers in the course of their ongoing investigation. He stressed that when the person or persons responsible are identified appropriate criminal charges will be filed. The investigation remains ongoing.