BELEN — Police are actively investigating a threat made Wednesday evening against Belen High School.
“The threat, which was disclosed to us yesterday, Feb. 13, was a threat against the school in general,” said Belen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez. “It was a threat that could put anyone in harms way — students, staff or visitors.
“We are in the preliminary stages of the investigation and don’t want to divulge the content of the threat to make sure we maintain the integrity of the investigation.”
The threat was made by two BHS students, Rodriguez said in a press release issued on Thursday, Feb. 14, who have been identified and are not currently allowed on the high school grounds.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to determine what we have, what information needs to go to the (district attorney),” Rodriguez said. “We haven’t gotten there yet. We do take this seriously.”
This years Valentine’s Day marks the one year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff members.
Rodriguez said when threats of this nature occur near an anniversary of an event such as the one in Parkland, part of the investigation is to determine if that was a contributing factor.
“At this we don’t know if Parkland was a factor, but everything is under consideration,” the chief said.
In the press release, Rodriguez encouraged parents to have a conversation with their children about the importance of recognizing and immediately reporting any suspicious behaviors or conversations to law enforcement or school authorities that may involve a threat to any school, student or school staff member. “School safety is a community effort and we must all be vigilant,” Rodriguez said. “School threats are taken very seriously and those individuals participating in such threats will be held accountable.”
A written statement from Belen Consolidated Schools superintendent Max Perez indicated all the people involved in making the threat were questioned and the situation investigated.
“The persons involved have been identified and the Belen Police Department is handling the case,” Perez’ statement reads. “BCS administrators are taking all measures to ensure that this is thoroughly reviewed and all proper steps are taken.”
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.