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Ashburnham and Gardner schools among 20 to receive bomb threat

In a call, an unidentified person threatened as many as 20 schools in central Massachusetts. The threat was deemed unsubstantiated by police.

As many as 20 schools throughout Massachusetts were the subject of a bomb threat Tuesday morning, officials in Gardner and nearby Ashburnham wrote in online updates. Police determined that the threats were unsubstantiated.

Gardner High School was one of the 20 schools threatened, Mayor Michael J. Nicholson wrote in a social media post. Every student was evacuated while state police troopers and local officers searched the building. The school was deemed safe and the students were ushered back into the building by around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Gardner police later said that the threat only targeted high schools in the area, and that it was not an “interior threat.” Ashburnham school officials received a call containing the threats, which mentioned other nearby schools. 

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In Ashburnham, students and staff at Oakmont Regional High School and Overlook Middle School were ordered to shelter in place while an investigation unfolded, Superintendent Todd Stewart wrote in a letter to the school community. 

The lockdown order and subsequent investigation took place around 7:50 a.m. No traffic was allowed into the school areas at the time, according to an update from Ashburnham police. The department clarified that the situation was not an active shooter incident.

By 9:20 a.m., police had cleared both Ashburnham schools and labeled the threat as not credible. 

“All protocols were executed and the threat was deemed to be unsubstantiated. An investigation is underway and is ongoing at this time,” Stewart wrote. 

Students and staff were never in any danger, according to Stewart, who apologized for traffic delays and for students being held on buses before they arrived at the schools. 

On Monday, a Boston University administrative building was briefly evacuated after a “suspicious” package was delivered to campus. A Boston police bomb squad later determined that the package was not a threat, The Boston Globe reported.

Last Thursday, Northeastern University was the subject of a shelter in place order regarding a bomb threat. Students and staff were advised to avoid the area near the Curry Student Center and Snell Quad.

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