Don’t lose your head, America, but police officers are camping out at every school throughout Warwick, Cranston, and Johnston, R.I. due to receiving an anonymous letter that threatens to behead school children in those communities. In response to the letter, authorities plan to stay planted outside areas schools through Friday.
Police Respond to Beheading Threat
Warwick Police Chief Steven McCartney stated that he found the threat “chilling” and told WPRO-AM that “beheading is planned.” Though the validity of the threat has not yet been determined, according to state police officer Lt. Matthew Moynihan, it is being taken very seriously in the wake of the grizzly beheadings in the Middle East, as well as in Oklahoma, as of late.
The ominous letter was received on Tuesday by Johnston police and was confirmed by deputy police chief Daniel Parrillo, who stated that both the FBI and state police were involved in investigating the threat. Parillo would not comment as to whether there were any distinguishing markings on the letter that would help identify its origin. So far, Parrillo simply said, the letter’s origin is not clear.
Many parents voiced that they would be keeping their children at home, naturally, after the public was notified. Warwick Police Chief McCartney urged them otherwise, however.
McCartney told WPRO-AM:
The schools may be the safest place to be.
How he figures that after such a threat is anyone’s guess.
Local Schools Respond To Beheading Threat
Taking precautions of their own, Cranston schools Superintendent Judith Lundsten informed parents that recess would be canceled (most likely held inside) and that students would not line up outside the schools in the morning waiting to enter, but enter right away.
Johnston schools Superintendent Bernard DiLullo also did his best to reassure parents that their children would be safe coming to school by sending out an automated call stating that extra precautions would be taken and that police would be stationed at each school.
Cranston Police Col. Michael Winquist wants parents to know that the police are on top of the situation and will handle the threat. One method in doing so is simply by maintaining a high police presence throughout the three communities.
State Rep. Responds To Beheading Threat
State Rep. Deborah Fellela, representing the Johnston area, stated Wednesday that she will be introducing a bill which would make it a felony to threaten Rhode Island students with violence. Her bill, if successful, would put into place a sentence of up to 20 years in the pen, coupled with a $100,000 fine, for doing so. It would also cover communities taking action against such possible violence by allowing judges to order restitution when deemed necessary.
Whether actual terrorists, be they foreign or domestic, would be deterred by such a law is another matter for debate entirely. In the meantime, be vigilant Rhode Island, but let’s not run around like chickens with our heads cut off just yet. After all, as they say, if everyone caves up at home out of fear, the terrorists (or as the case may prove, mischievous teenagers) win, don’t they.