Police Chief Says Schools Safe, Secure in Wake of Nashua Threat

Londonderry schools were on high alert following a detailed threat of violence directed toward Nashua’s two high schools last week, an event that caused the Nashua District to close all its public schools on Dec. 21.

The threat, sent in an email to a Nashua administrator, came on the heels of threats to both the Los Angeles and New York City School Districts.

Superintendent Nate Greenberg sent an email to parents on Dec. 21 saying Londonderry schools had not received any threat; however, when the District learned of the situation in Nashua, officials contacted all school principals and asked them “to be extra alert” that day.

Simultaneously, the Police Department increased patrols around the schools the evening of Dec. 20 and had a heightened visibility at all schools on Dec. 21.

“Our schools are safe, and we have just taken these extra precautions to ensure the safety, well-being and comfort level of all our students, faculty and staff,” Greenberg wrote. “As always, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are our first priority.”

Londonderry Police Chief Bill Hart said in addition to the schools’ School Resource Officer (SRO) program, the Department has also enhanced over the last week its “school walk-through program,” where officers stop by schools at random times to conduct a walk-through, check in with staff and spend time in the building.

“Each of our officers is required to do a walk-through each school during the course of their shift,” Hart said of the enhanced monitoring.

Hart noted events like the threat to the Nashua School District heightens awareness, but said the Department is engaged in ongoing threat assessment.

“I’d say notwithstanding the certainly scary headlines we see, this being Londonderry, the school system is one of the safest in the world to go to every day,” he said. “If it were my child going to school every day, I would have no hesitation.”

Matthew Thornton Elementary School Principal Sharon Putney said she has not received any calls from parents concerned over the safety of the schools, likely because of the Superintendent’s proactive message detailing the steps the District is taking to ensure the safety of students and staff, as well as the investment the District has made to secure the schools’ entrances.

Additionally, Putney said the Town’s SRO program helps foster a positive relationship between students and police, reinforcing the understanding that a police officer “is a friend, and a helper.”

Students at Matthew Thornton participated in a lockdown drill at the school on Dec. 22, which Putney said was not in response to the threat in Nashua, but had been scheduled in advance.

“It went very well. The students take the drills very seriously,” she said. “There are so many things we do as a District in each of the buildings to make sure we have consistency, and we work closely with Police and Fire. When we do our drills, we always have police here and we take their feedback very seriously. We’re always trying to get better.”