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Canajoharie, NY ,

‘Manifesto’ fax puts Canjo police and school on alert

Thursday, December 19, 2013 - Updated: 4:17 AM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- On Wednesday morning, the Canajoharie Police Department received, by fax, an eight-page “rambling manifesto” from an unknown source, according to Police Chief Bryan MacFadden.

While MacFadden said the “manifesto,” which was waiting for him when he arrived at 7 a.m., contained no direct threats toward the Canajoharie Central School District, nor did it mention the school, it did contain several mentions of children, which caused MacFadden -- as a safety precaution -- to inform the school district of the document’s existence.

“Because it mentioned children, I put a car on both schools and advised them to up their vigilance,” MacFadden said, explaining that he immediately discussed the issue with Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw and the district’s principals, keeping them up to date throughout the day.

“We always err on the side of safety for the children, because I worry about the kids like they were my own,” said MacFadden, who explained that he also contacted the Department of Homeland Security regarding the document, and was informed that other police departments in the state had also received it.

Overnight Wednesday, social media exploded with posts from people asking what occurred in the Canajoharie Central School District. Grimshaw stated Thursday morning that due to the widespread release of rumors via social media, “it has become something it never was.”

“There was never a direct threat or reference made to our school or our kids,” she said.

The school district was never placed on lockdown. “All we did was just pay closer attention to safety in the schools,” she said. The district’s elementary, middle and high school followed regular safety procedures, which included keeping all exterior doors locked, and having all visitors check in to the office to state their business and acquire a visitor tag.

The high school was put on pass restriction, meaning that students were asked to remain in their classrooms. Grimshaw said that pass restrictions are issued regularly for a number of reasons.

She said operations within the district were business as usual with all evening events still taking place.

“As always, our student safety is the most important thing,” stated Grimshaw, who said that a statement would be released on the district web site and Facebook page today and a letter will be sent home with each student.


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