Threats prompt backpack ban at Danvers school

Updated:

DANVERS, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – Threatening messages found scrawled in a bathroom at St. John's Prep in Danvers have prompted school officials to ban backpacks as part of a series of precautions this week.

In a letter sent to parents, St. Johns headmaster Edward Hardiman said students will only be allowed to carry clear plastic bags on campus beginning Tuesday. Danvers police will also have a presence at the school and students' bathroom activities will be more closely monitored.

Hardiman said a second threatening message was found in a bathroom Monday. He said the message did not target anyone specifically and the security precautions were taken out of concern for the well-being of students, faculty and staff.

"It is the unsettling reality of our times that we find ourselves faced with this situation at St. John's," Hardiman said. "We believe, however, that these measures, while they may seem inconvenient, will help ensure the safest possible environment for our students, faculty and staff."

Students and parents are feeling uneasy due to the threats.

"It's not something like obviously I'm happy about, I'm nervous to be at school you know," Anthony Vigliotta said.

Parent Steven Cunningham said, "Well as a parent you're always concerned about your children's safety and that was probably the first thing on my mind."

An investigation by Danvers police is ongoing.