Schools investigate threatening Snapchat image

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Sep. 30—Local officials across the Merrimack Valley responded to an image that circulated on Snapchat on Wednesday related to a threat of gun violence at a school.

The image, which did not originate in Massachusetts but was shared widely on social media among Merrimack Valley students, led to parental concerns and heightened precautions at some local schools Thursday.

"Upon investigating, it was quickly determined that the picture was in reference to an ongoing situation in Cumberland County, Maine where several schools were shut down," said Methuen police interim Chief Randy Haggar. "There are currently no threats to our school system and we continue to work closely with school administrators to ensure the safety of our students, staff and visitors."

Haverhill High School Principal Jason Meland told staff members via email Thursday morning that the image was brought to his attention Wednesday afternoon and investigated by the Haverhill Police Department along with other neighboring police departments, and there is no cause for alarm.

Meland asked staff to continue to reach out with any questions or concerns and to encourage students to continue to bring any concerns they may have to a trusted adult in the community.

In Lawrence, police Chief Roy Vasque said a variety of precautions were taken when police learned of the potential threat Wednesday evening.

He school buildings were swept for anything suspicious. There was also a heightened police presence Thursday at schools, including Lawrence High School, where Vasque, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cynthia Paris and Mayor Kendrys Vasquez all attended a 9 a.m. event.

Paris said she had been up since 4 a.m. Thursday and had spoken to other superintendents in area districts about the threat.

Reporters Mike LaBella, Jill Harmacinski and Allison Corneau contributed to this report.

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