Threat on wall at PVPA prompts ‘shelter in place’ protocol, police monitoring 

  • The Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/18/2019 11:37:30 PM

SOUTH HADLEY —  After a threat was found written on a bathroom wall Tuesday at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, police were called and the school was placed in a “shelter in place” protocol.

That’s according to a message Executive Director Marc Kenen sent to PVPA families Tuesday. Kenen wrote that as a precaution, police did a thorough search of the building. 

“We are confident that there is no danger, but we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our students, staff and our school,” the email read.

In another message sent later in the day Tuesday, Kenen said that students would be monitored by police as they entered the building. 

“This is all a precaution, we are not taking any chances, but we do not have any reason to believe there is an active threat against the school,” Kenen wrote in the email, obtained by the Gazette. “Also, students should be aware that they will not be allowed to go to their cars during the day tomorrow, nor will students be allowed off-campus for lunch.”

When reached by phone late Wednesday afternoon, Kenen said that everything is “back to normal” at the school.

“Our community always comes together in the face of crisis, and that is what we did yesterday,” he said.

Kenen told the Gazette that he would not provide any further details about what the threat said or the school’s response to it. He declined to confirm whether police had even been called.

“We have a whole protocol for safety and precautions, and we don’t share those with the media and the public,” Kenen said.

PVPA faced a similar situation in March 2018, when a threatening message was found written on a bathroom wall. That message referenced the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, school officials said at the time. 

The day that message was discovered, students were required to enter the building through metal detectors and school personnel searched students’ backpacks. Police also remained in the parking lot all day in marked and unmarked vehicles.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at

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