On Wednesday March 21st at approximately 11:35 AM, Holliston High School Principal Ms. Nicole Bottomley made an announcement over the PA system which stated a containment procedure was being put into effect until further notice due to a “concern outside of the school.”
Students were shaken after the announcement was made as little information was given in the first few minutes of the situation. Some students took the words “a concern outside the school” to mean there was an individual directly outside the doors of the school attempting to enter the building.
“I saw the Facebook post saying that there was a student who posted a video with a gun and then over the announcements they said that the threat was outside so I thought there was a shooter on campus,” said sophomore Louise Pessote.
A containment, which is less severe than a lockdown, allows for normal class activities to continue within the school. While many teachers locked their doors, movement throughout the building was permitted but no person could enter or exit the building, including seniors who were planning on leaving during lunch.
Around 10:45 Wednesday morning, students reported a Snapchat video without audio to administration in which one current HHS student and one HHS graduate were pointing a gun at the camera. The video was then sent to “a number of HHS students,” according to an email sent to parents.
“While the video did not pose any specific threats to HHS, since the video was shared with a number of HHS students, we decided to respond aggressively,” said a statement released on the HHS Facebook page minutes after the containment was lifted.
The two students appearing in the video did not attend school on Wednesday nor was the individual who filmed it. The Holliston Police Department first went to the home of the student who was holding the gun but was not found there, according to the email.
“Given that we were unable to immediately locate the individuals in the video, the Superintendent, High School Principal, and Police Chief agreed to take the additional step of placing the High School in ‘Containment’,” the email read.
Remaining HPD units that were not involved with locating the individuals were dispatched to HHS along with additional officers from the Ashland Police Department, according to the email sent to HHS parents.
The HPD continued their investigation and later located all three individuals. It was discovered then the gun in the video was an airsoft pistol which was also located and secured by the HPD.
Once the individuals were located and the airsoft pistol was obtained by the HPD, the containment was lifted at approximately 12:10 and normal activities and senior privileges resumed.
The incident is still under investigation by both the HHS administration and the HPD.