Police Presence at Middletown High School Back to Normal After Back-to-Back Incidents

By Cara Ding
Cara Ding
Cara Ding
Cara is an Orange County, New York-based Epoch Times reporter. She can be reached at cara.ding@epochtimes.com
September 21, 2022 Updated: September 22, 2022

Police presence at Middletown High School has returned to normal with two school resource officers on campus, according to Middletown police Lt. Jeffry Thoelen on Sept. 21.

Additional police presence at the school was triggered on Sept. 16 after a student alerted the school administration of a shooting threat received by phone.

On Sept. 14, several high school students got into a fight near school buses during dismissal, resulting in police responses.

Thoelen told The Epoch Times that no evidence suggests the shooting threat is credible.

“We determined that the screenshot of the threat was created outside of Middletown and being circulated online, and a student picked it up and shared it locally,” he said.

On Sept. 15, a student alerted the school administration of a screenshot image received by phone through Apple AirDrop during lunchtime. The image contained a shooting threat aimed at the upcoming pep rally, according to a school letter shared with parents.

The school administration immediately collected cellphones from all students at the cafeteria. Cellphones were not searched, the letter says.

According to the Middletown School District policy, students are not allowed to use cellphones throughout the school day, including lunchtime; for those who violate the policy, their phones will be collected by school staff and can only be picked up by parents or guardians.

Soon after, Middletown police arrived on campus to investigate the threat.

Epoch Times Photo
A Middletown High School sign sits on the ramp leading up to the school campus in Middletown, N.Y., on Sept. 20, 2022. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)

The next day, the high school opened with three additional police officers posted inside the school building. Increased police presence was also arranged outside the building and around the campus.

The pep rally was postponed to a later date.

“We have a tremendous working relationship with police agencies and have the ability to collaboratively adjust coverage as needed, both on our campuses and within the communities that surround the schools,” according to a Sept. 19 email from Middletown School District Superintendent Amy Creeden.

No evidence suggests a link between the threat and the student fight that occurred the day before, Creeden said in the email.

Regarding the fight, Creeden said the students involved in the incident would face internal disciplinary actions.

Thoelen said of the student fight: “These incidents, while very concerning, involve a very, very small amount of people. It is only the first couple of weeks of school, so there are a lot of adjustments. You have kids coming from different parts of the city that may not have familiarity with each other, and some conflicts can arise.”

“The school takes it very seriously, we take it very seriously, and that partnership is very important to overcome those issues,” he added.

As the city’s only public high school, Middletown High School has over 2,000 students, who are mostly graduates from the city’s two middle schools, Monhagen and Twin Towers.

Cara Ding
Cara is an Orange County, New York-based Epoch Times reporter. She can be reached at cara.ding@epochtimes.com