Northampton High School staff praised for response to student on roof

  • Northampton High School

Published: 5/8/2018 6:03:52 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Two Northampton High School staff members are being lauded for their compassionate response to a student who made her way onto the high school’s roof Tuesday morning.

Superintendent John Provost said administrators were in a meeting at the middle school when they received word around 9:45 a.m. that a student was on the roof of the high school. The student had gotten onto the roof through a “unique window” at the school which actually opens above the second story.

Northampton Assistant Principal Lori Vaillancourt and the district’s attendance and outreach social worker, Kelley Knight, were able to get onto the roof and speak to the student.

“They responded in a very compassionate way,” Provost said. “They engaged the student in a conversation about safe behavior and brought her back into the school.”

It was not clear why the student went onto the roof. No one was injured.

During the incident, which lasted about 30 minutes, the high school was put on a “shelter in place,” which means that students are not allowed to leave the classroom but teaching is able to continue, Provost explained. Following the incident, maintenance staff modified the window so it can no longer be opened.

The school does have counseling services in the building available to students and Provost said there was no qualification or referral process for those students who feel the need to talk to someone. While the school does have counseling staff available, Provost said if students are more comfortable speaking with a teacher, administrator or librarian, that can be done. The most important thing, he said, was that a student who is experiencing distress reach out to a trusted adult within the building.

Emily Cutts can be reached at
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