Discovery of list at Cobleskill school troubles district officials

Saturday, June 21, 2014
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The William H. Golding Middle School in Cobleskill on Friday, June 20, 2014, where a threatening list was found.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
The William H. Golding Middle School in Cobleskill on Friday, June 20, 2014, where a threatening list was found.

— Two students at William H. Golding Middle School found a piece of paper listing the names of 25 eighth-graders Thursday, said school district Superintendent Lynn Macan.

The list, which was found in a school technology lab, only displayed the names of the students. It did not provide any reason as to why the names were listed. But the school is still treating the instance as a potential threat to the student body.

The school is set to host a field day for students Tuesday. Macan said the field day is not in jeopardy of being canceled, but she left the door open to changing her mind.

“As of right now, the field day is on,” she said. “That could change on Monday.”

After receiving the list, the school immediately began contacting parents of students on the list. Macan said there were mixed reactions from parents. “Some parents have said this is very disturbing,” she said. “However, some are not as concerned and do not want the field day to be canceled.”

An unidentified mother of an eighth-grade student said the list did not worry her.

“Frankly, I am not that concerned,” she said. “This is a safe community.”

Last week, the school got wind of an alleged list that was being passed around via Facebook and Twitter. The school never obtained a copy of the list, but as a precaution decided to cancel a school dance that was set to take place that Friday. Macan said social media can “magnify things like this, and we are not going to stop life as we know it.”

Macan acknowledged both instances occurring so close together is questionable, she said, but to her knowledge they are not related.

“We are taking both of these occurrences very seriously,” Macan said. “Idle threats can’t be made in our society with no consequences.”

The Cobleskill Police Department along with school staff members will be conducting an investigation in an attempt to discover who created the list. Police Chief Rich Bialkowski said the department is in the process of interviewing the parents of the students on the list, other students at the school and staff members.

He went on to say the department has taken a number of investigate measures but no specific plans have been uncovered yet.

“Any potential threat is serious until proven otherwise,” Bialkowski said.

Police will be patrolling the school until Wednesday, June 25, the last day of classes.

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