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Police stationed at Saugus High School after a written threat was discovered inside

Saugus Police Department were present as the high school let out on Thursday following a written threat that was found Wednesday evening. (Spenser R. Hasak)

SAUGUS — Police and counselors were on campus at Saugus High School Thursday after graffiti “of a concerning nature” was found on a whiteboard.

The writing was discovered by a custodian in a wing at the rear of the building Wednesday night. While it did not directly threaten an individual or group, Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi said it included concerning language.

“Was it an actual, credible threat? Not really,” he said. “We assessed it and came up with a plan. Keeping the lines of communication and collaboration open are key to all of this. We need one message and one plan.”

After-school activities were going on at the time, and everyone at the school left the building, he said. DeRuosi issued a recorded call to parents to make them aware of the situation, as per the district’s protocol for school emergencies.

“School administration, in conjunction with police, were called to the school and investigated the incident,” DeRuosi said in the message. “At this time, there is no credible threat and school will be held tomorrow, Thursday, March 1. Student and staff safety is always the first priority.”

Police assisted in a controlled school entrance Thursday morning that restricted entry to the building to one door. Teachers monitored various doors around the building to ensure they were not being used, he said.

“The problem with the old buildings is there are so many doors,” said DeRuosi.

The best thing the district can do to keep the children safe until a new school is constructed with updated technology and additional built-in security features, is encourage staff to build relationships with students and legislatures to fund more School Resource Officers, he said.

“When they build relationship with kids, it’s easier to protect the students,” he said. “When kids trust adults they’re comfortable enough to go to a teacher or a staff member with concerns. That’s how you find out about these things.”

School Committee chairwoman Jeannie Meredith said it’s unclear what the message means, but measures were taken to provide students with counselors to talk to throughout the school day.

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