School shooting hoaxer faces expulsion

A student at Bridgeport’s Blackham School faces expulsion after he allegedly called police and falsely told them gunshots were filling a classroom Thursday, sending more than two dozen city officers scrambling to protect the school’s young students.

Police confirmed that the call made from a cell phone around 2 p.m.  Thursday was a hoax and that no students were injured. They also said the boy is a student at the PK-8 school on Thorme Street, but they would not release his identity because of his age.

Department spokesman William Kaempffer said a police officer was on the Blackham campus within minutes of the reported shooting. The officer immediately entered the school and found nothing wrong. But the school was nonetheless put on lockdown and two dozen officers converged on the scene.

Investigators quickly identified the student who made the call. But they were still trying to figure out what prompted him to do it and what criminal charges, if any, he will face.

Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Paul G. Vallas was adamant that the student will not be returning to Blackham.

“I don’t view these types of pranks as kids being kids,'” he said in an interview. “We’re never going to accept that. These are very serious things being done.”

Phoning in threats like that is an expellable offense that can get a student sent to an alternative school. And besides the misuse of police resources, Vallas said such pranks instill fear in people who believe the report is real.

“One person’s hoax is another person’s terror,” he said.

Vallas said classes at Blackham will resume as normally on Friday, the last day before the school’s Christmas holiday. But he said there will be extra police security at the school, even though this incident was a hoax.

Wes Duplantier