A lockout Tuesday morning, Jan. 19, has been attributed to a threat made by a former student to the Bethlehem High School resource officer, who is also a Bethlehem Police officer.
According to the Bethlehem Police Department, Thomas A. Gray, 22, of Delmar, placed a phone call to the officer, and threatened to harm only him. The two reportedly have a history of past altercations.
As is school policy, Bethlehem Central High School and nearby Eagle Elementary School were placed in lockout mode from 11:25 a.m. until just before noon, when police were able to locate Gray. The investigation quickly determined that Gray was not on school grounds when he made the call, but the schools were placed on lockout as a precautionary measure.
During lockout mode all exterior doors are locked, no one is allowed to enter the building – including scheduled visitors and parents – and instruction continues without disruption. Additional police officers were also placed outside the school during the lockout. A lockout is different from a lockdown, where a threat is perceived to be inside the school, and teachers and staff clear the hallways and lock all doors.
“I understand incidents such as the one [Tuesday] can cause concern among parents staff, and most importantly, among our students… Please be assured that the safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority,” said District Interim Superintendent of Schools Jody Monroe.
Gray was charged with misdemeanor harassment in the second degree. He was arraigned in Bethlehem Town Court and released under the supervision of Albany County Probation Department. He is scheduled to reappear in court on Feb. 16.
Bethlehem Police Department was assisted by Hudson Valley Community College Office of Public Safety during this investigation.