Apr 302014

Now that Monday’s incident at North Quincy High School has been fully investigated and safety protocol issues documented, I want to thank Principal Robert Shaw, the staff of North Quincy High School, the Quincy Police Department, and Director of Safety and Security Michael Draicchio for their swift and coordinated response to the intrusion as it unfolded. 

Principal Robert Shaw shared the following message with North Quincy High School staff and students this morning: 

First, I need to commend all staff and students for how you responded during and after the lockdown. Most people did what they were supposed to do, and as a result school staff and the police department were able to do what we needed to do to determine what was going on and make the building safe.

The entire chain of events began when a door on the first floor was left unsecured.  An intruder entered the building through this door and made his way into the atrium and then the auditorium.  He was seen by a student, who reported the trespasser to the nearest staff member.  As the student was reporting this, another staff member encountered the trespasser, apprehended him, and escorted him to School Resource Officer Burgio.  Officer Burgio called for help, and additional police units responded in minutes.  It was at this time that the incident was also reported to me.

Many of you noticed police approaching prior the actual lockdown.  This was because we had a trespasser in custody and police were responding to Officer Burgio’s call.  However, after he was apprehended I was told there was the possibility that there could have been a second trespasser.  With that possibility, and school dismissal only a few minutes away, I put the building in lockdown.  I could not take the chance that there was a second person in the building and at 2:30 have staff and students moving in all directions.  During the lockdown, Quincy Police and school officials made a careful search of the building and found no one.  The police had every exit of the building covered, both inside and outside.  They gave the okay to dismiss school; as students and staff exited the building, police watched very carefully for signs of the possible second trespasser.  They saw nothing suspicious.

At 3:00, we shut the building down and brought in the K-9 units.  There were two reasons to do a K-9 search.  One was to be sure there was no one still in the building.  The other was to be sure the trespasser we did apprehend didn’t leave anything behind.  Every inch of this building was inspected during a three-hour search.  No person and no objects were found.

The evidence we have indicates that there was only one trespasser.  The video footage we have shows him entering alone and moving through the atrium alone.  But at 2:15 on Monday afternoon, I could not be entirely sure this was the case.  And that’s why everything that happened after 2:15 happened the way it did.

There is much to be learned from what happened the other day.  Most importantly, I have to work harder to make sure every entrance to this building is secure.  For a few minutes on Monday, the security of this building was compromised and that cannot happen again.  Also, this event reminds us all to remain aware of our surroundings and to report things that don’t look right.   

If anyone has further questions or concerns, I encourage you to drop by the principal’s office and let me know.  It is through continued dialogue and reflection that we will improve our security protocols.  Thank you for your attention to this message and for playing your role in maintaining the safety and security of this building.

Principal Shaw will be addressing parents at the North Quincy High School PAC meeting on Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 pm in the school’s Media Center.  I will also be attending this meeting, along with Director of Safety and Security Michael Draicchio.