LYNN — A 51-year-old Lynn man has been arrested after allegedly threatening to harm 22 people from the Lynn Public Schools, a claim that shut down four schools for more than an hour on Tuesday afternoon.
Michael Chiapperini, a parent of a Lynn Public Schools student, was arrested on a warrant in Brighton on Wednesday by the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad Unit and charged with bomb threat and threat to commit crime, according to Lynn Police Lt. Michael Kmiec.
Chiapperini allegedly told a social worker that he had a list of people he wanted to harm from the school system, which was subsequently reported to police and school officials, Kmiec said.
Four schools — Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, Lynn Classical High School, Fecteau-Leary Junior/Senior High School and Cobbet Elementary School — were placed in a “secure and hold,” which is when students don’t leave the building and no one comes in until police give the all clear.
The threat is part of an ongoing dispute Chiapperini has with the school department. Police don’t have information on which individuals he may have been targeting, so the decision was made to secure schools he’s had past problems with, or ones that his child has an affiliation with, Kmiec said.
His child attended two of the schools and was not accepted into another one of the schools, Kmiec said.
“This is part of the problem, not all of the problem,” Kmiec said.
Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler told The Item on Tuesday that entering into a secure and hold was made out of an abundance of caution.
He characterized the parent’s remark as a nonspecific “concerning comment,” rather than a threat, and regarding the district’s protocol, said whether or not to enter into a secure and hold or lockdown is handled on a case by case basis where credibility is evaluated.
“Student safety is our foremost priority and we would rather overreact than underreact on issues around safety,” Tutwiler said on Tuesday.
Despite the charge classification, the alleged comment did not indicate a bomb threat. There are a number of threats that could cause a school to go into lockdown or cause a disruption to one, which would result in the same arrest charge, according to police.
Chiapperini was arrested without incident and brought back to the Lynn Police station for booking. Kmiec said the department knew where he was going to be because the suspect had been in contact with Lynn officers.
He is being held under guard at an area hospital because of medical issues and is expected to be arraigned in Lynn District Court on Thursday.