The Branford Police Department and Branford Schools issued a joint press release in response to an incident yesterday at Branford High School. Rumors and accounts from students often included alleged threats made by a person who entered the school; police are simply calling the matter a "trespassing complaint" and state no threats were made. 

The full release:

Branford police detectives worked in coordination with School District officials yesterday to investigate a trespassing complaint of a juvenile (not a Branford student) at Branford High School. During the incident, no threats were made toward any individual, group of students or staff.

The Branford Public School District is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment, and to that end, Superintendent of Schools Hamlet M. Hernandez and Police Chief Kevin Halloran both reiterated, “Potential threats concerning the safety of students or schools, are taken seriously and if necessary, proper measures are implemented.”

(44) comments

Guest

The High School is becoming a joke and Hernandez needs to be held accountable. Today it was trespassing, yesterday heroin, from what I understand there are fights, mostly girls, that go on almost a weekly basis. The most disturbing thing about the fights are Hernandez has instructed all of his workers to not intervene. So basically make the kids beat the C$!p our of each other in front of everyone till students and or a non Branford paid individual breaks it up. Seriously, his letter to parents to day is a joke. He does not get involved, he does not communicate and does everything in his power to sweep everything under the rug. So in two weeks, we've had a massive fight in the cafe, heroin in our school and some random kid walk right in. Only one of the three incidents was made known to the public. Where is the accountability? Where is the safety? Anyone and their brother can walk into any Branford school with zero issues.

Steve, I think you should do an article on the fights and the over all security and safety of our students because it is completely lacking and Hernandez just sits in his office sweeping it all under the rug...

Guest

It was insulin, not heroin. As to fights on a weekly basis, incorrect. And no instructions not to intervene or break up fights have been issued. The person did not just walk in, was let into the school by another student via a side door.

Guest

I have a son in the high school. Says they are not broken up by teachers. What else would that instruction be? And a girl fight happened in the cafe, last week. I can get the date if you wish...

Guest

I have three kids that attend bhs, and they too have talked about several incidents of violence in the cafe during lunchtime. Mostly seems to be girls fighting, or getting "attacked" in a few instances. And my kids have also said the same thing, that the teachers and administrators don't really step in right away to help stop the fight. Also, out of curiosity, wondering exactly WHY the person was let into the high school last week? Who exactly let him in, and is that person facing any kind of punishments?

Dave Gruendel

I teach at the high school and yes, there a incidents that take place in the commons that I, and most other teachers, do not know about because they happen in the commons and we simply do not hear or see them taking place. But please know this, when we do, we run to them. You can trust my word, or not, your choice. And, I have not received instructions not to intervene in fights and if you hear that instructions like that have been issued, I would ask that you call the school and let administration respond to your concerns.

Guest

Thanks Dave. Question, why if girls are getting attacked and or fights breaking out are these common areas not supervised? Pretty sure the girl that got attacked is not mentally scared from that and in this climate.... Probably a good idea to get those areas more securely monitors. I've heard and have had experiences in the Branford school system where cameras were mysteriously "not turned on" when they needed to be. I've also heard Hernandez is pretty worthless and more concerned about appearance than actually doing anything for the safety of our kids. Assuming nothing was done to the attackers so they are free to attack again. Was the police called? Were they arrested? Assuming no, but lets all just wait to be on the national news... Again, not pointing this anger at you but your superiors...

Guest

We can characterize the events at BHS the day after the Florida tragedy any way we want. But it seems to me lack of security, incompetence and covering up after the fact played prominent roles that day, along with a bit of lying. This is what Hernandez and Krause have given us.

Guest

Dave Gruendel, who is a teacher at BHS, made a comment a few days ago. While it was good to see a teacher commenting, the comment didn't really add anything of major substance. If Mr. Gruendel, or any other teachers, REALLY want to help this situation, STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES and stop walking around like passive people who have been bullied into submission by Panagoulias, Hernandez and Krause. It doesn't look good...

Guest

It was not heroin; it was insulin.

Fights do not take place every week and no instructions from the Supt. regarding not breaking up fights have been sent out.

The person who gained entry to BHS did not just "walk in"; was let in by a student, through a side door.

Guest

That's wonderful, and thanks so much for the clarification. It brings back memories of the time a Jewish child was getting repeatedly bullied at BPS. But when the bully was described as yelling "kill the Jew", General Hernandez was quick to point out that the offender said "kick, not kill". As a Branford parent, this type of reassurance speaks for itself

Guest

Cover up is the name of the game,it has been that way for a long time,way before Hernandez took charge.If there was no problem,why were the police called ?

Guest

The police were called because there was trespassing. Threats were made along the way. The fact that someone could get into BHS on a day ripe for "copy cat" shootings due to the tragedy in Florida is amazing. Sadly, the fact that Lee P and Hernandez would try to cover their asses starting with a 5 AM email is not at all surprising as that's the way BPS and the BOE roll.

Guest

Exactly. Getting into BHS, Walsh or Sliney is scary simple. Ridiculous and only a matter of time.. I hear there is a guard at Walsh, is he armed?

Guest

You mean to tell me someone in charge couldn't tell the trespasser to leave or escort the person out of the building.Half truths,untruths.

Guest

Every door, including classrooms should be a fire door that only opens from the inside or with a key. Students cannot mill around in hallways and have 3 minutes to get to the next class. Anyone found in a hallway during class has to have a hall pass or gets detention, this includes going to the bathroom. Anyone with free period goes to a study hall. No student can leave the building during school hours with permission.

Schools would be safer and there would be less bullying.

That's how schools used to be before liberals ruined them.

gobballfan

After Newtown, Branford schools enacted very strict access and leaving rules, especially at BHS. The enforcement has lacked in the years since. It's time to step up the enforcement. Security can't only be done when it's convenient. It only takes one instance of a door not being monitored. Every time one of these tragedies happens, people are always saying that they never expected it in their town. If you don't expect it, then you can't properly prepare for it and take all necessary precautions. School districts can't keep ignoring this never ending threat to our children. The first line of defense cannot be a 911 call with gunfire in the background.

Guest

These idiots have now written 3 letters to BHS parents on this topic. Only reason why is becase they know they screwed up and are trying to cover it up best they can

Guest

The letters basically reiterate that nothing has been done to make the school more physically secure since Newtown. Every classroom, in every school, needs to be a safe room. The time for an intruder to break through needs to be twice the time for a police response to arrive.

Guest

So don't worry they will take care of having drills in the next week. They will have their ducks in a row for the upcoming meetings. You know- reactive rather than proactive. Don't forget to go to meetings and ask them where has all this been in the past 4 years??? Oh wait, but lets keep extending contracts and give out raises.

Guest

Wait you spoke too soon, another one last night! More communication than in the past 8 years in 1 week!

gobballfan

The BOE chairman and Hamlet hate to be questioned in a public forum. Keep asking questions. Make them squirm. The Super needs to earn his salary and the BOE members need to answer the questions asked by the people who voted them in.

Guest

We are now up to 4 emails from Hernandez and his henchmen on the security lapse at BHS last week. It makes me think of Watergate

Guest

My son shared with me that he doesn't feel safe at BHS. There needs to be better security and less access to the inside perimeters. I moved my kids out of EHS thinking Branford was safer!!! Yeah, ok

gobballfan

As usual with the entire "upper management" of Branford Public Schools, the coverup is worse than the crime. They do not think that parents need to know anything. Simple communications can go a long way. They only react to things when media, lawyers or social media take over. Administration and BOE are NEVER ahead of anything.

Susan Barnes

102 towns were rated for their school safety. Branford came in 102. Dead last.

Guest

And if the BOE/BPS were rated for effective leadership and credibility, they'd also finish dead last

gobballfan

Unsafest school district in CT, lower test scores, decreasing enrollment, never ending budget increases, complete lack of confidence in administration and BOE, absolutely no communication skills by administration and BOE. Would you a) not renew the superintendent's contract or b) Give him a 1% raise because he did such a great job on a project that doesn't even have a shovel in the ground, and is his job anyways.?

Guest

Add to that the way they treated Marsland, the "transfer" of Goeler, and all the lies surrounding these personnel moves. The frequent use of attorneys, using our tax dollars, against us. The ignoring of those with claims of bullying in the schools. The various times that the BPD wasn't made aware of something at all, or it was done after the fact. And frequent lying. Put these things together, along with what you've shared, and it's little wonder why enrollment is low and lack of trust in Krause, Hernandez and the rest of the BOE is high.

Guest

A personal friend of mine has told me that their son was threatened by a kid who probably should not be in the school. Admin did nothing and actually told them to take the mater to the police as they knew the current admin would blow it off. Only a matter of time for Branford I fear. When are the contracts for this administration up for renewal? What power if any do we have to influence that they are NOT renewed?

Guest

Can someone please post the records of past drills at BHS? I heard that they are regular carried out. The students tell a different story. Let's see the records and have the students set the record straight. Teachers, I think you will find you have a lot of support from the parents...mpre than you may think. Don't get bullied by the admin.Let the public know what you know too. Keep you and most important the kids safe! Se the record straight...and Thanks Gruendel for posting...right or wrong, at least you have some guts!

Guest

Any details on the fight at BHS this morning? Are these Branford residents involved in these fights?

Guest

The fight at BHS yesterday was pretty nasty and involved 2 freshman boys. Threats were also made

Guest

Many of the fights tend to be among girls, especially those from New Haven that are welcomed with open arms as BPS gets money for them. They fight constantly with few consequences. There is no doubt that there is a huge amount of outrage among parents and students at Hernandez, Krause, senior BPS administration and the BOE. There is also little doubt that the teachers have been put in their places and are running scared from being bullied themselves. Four emails related to the security lapse at BHS last week???? Dave Grundel saying to call administration if you sense a problem??? Newsflash, Dave: BHS Principal, backed up by Krause, Hernandez and the sheep that form the rest of the BOE, ARE the problem!

Guest

As a previous poster mentioned, who is doing the "attacking" Branford kids or New Haven kids?

Guest

The safety and health of all members of our learning community is our top priority. We know you place your trust in us each time you send your child to Branford High School. We constantly review our current methods of communication, safety drills, and security to establish best practice so we can effectively maintain the safety and security of each student who enters our doors.
When I began teaching 24 years ago in Branford Public Schools, our high school had an “open campus practice.” Students were allowed to leave campus during “opens” to get lunch in the center of town or enjoy a walk on a beautiful spring day. There were no video surveillance systems, security guards, or need to buzz visitors in at the front door. Due to the unfortunate repeated acts of violence occurring at schools across the country, and our commitment to provide a safe environment for all members of our learning community, our school practices and procedures have drastically changed.
Each horrific event causes all schools to reevaluate their procedures. At BHS, the word we emphasized this week with our students is WE. Together - students, parents, school, and community - must work together to make Branford High School a safe and healthy school environment where all of our students can learn, grow, and thrive. It is essential that we partner with you to support our students to make safe decisions! We all have a responsibility to report information which is potentially dangerous for students or someone else.
I encourage any parent who would like to be more directly involved in the discussion around school culture and guidelines to become a member of the Branford High School Community and Academic Standards Committee. For the last 15 years, this committee of teachers, students, and parents has met on the first Tuesday of each month to discuss Branford High School’s educational program, civic, social and academic expectations and initiatives. If you are interested please email my administrative assistant, Jean Brookman, at jbrookman@branfordschools.org.

Sincerely,

Lee Panagoulias, Jr.
Principal

Guest

As a BHS parent of 2 teenagers I wanted to post the above email from Mr. Panagoulias. Sounds like he doesn't like it when someone questions his methods. Just like his boss...

Guest

This is simply a cop out in hopes that nobody will join the committee and he can eventually say, I told you so

Guest

When I went to school there were not opens, there were study halls. No one was allowed in hallways between classes without a pass. No one left school before the end of the school day. We socialized after school, not during. We were not pampered and my generation become fodder for the Vietnam war. You have ruined our schools.

Guest

Graduated in 2000, sad to see how the world has changed and what became of the Branford school system. Glad I won't be having kids. We did things that could get us expelled now, we didn't need cameras or security, we didn't need it for insurance liability, we could get into good universities after branford, we put up with new graduation requirements (senior exhibition and community service, and not everything under the sun was online. We even had the same teachers our parents had. Can't say I really miss it or would want to do it over again. Just want to say what anyone from my graduating class would say, Branford really has become f*cked up and glad there will probably never be a reunion.

Guest

This letter from Lee Panagoulias reeks of someone trying to cover up for the security mistake and conflicting messages that resulted from it well after the fact. Too little, way too late and way too lame. Just like his bosses Hernandez and Krause have apparently taught him as they do it all the time.

Guest

Why on earth are there no teachers watching a lunch period. Where there is no adult supervision, fights happens cause kids are morons. Branford is just biding its time aren't they. One kid will have gotten beat up too many times and then guess what happens. Oh and I heard that the kids were all asked to tell the teachers what THEIR plan is for safety. Not the other way around. Unfriggen real. Wish I knew this 15 years ago when we moved here. So unsafe.

Guest

The issues are lack of safety, lack of responsiveness, lack of credibility and lack of leadership. Put it all together, and its no wonder Branford is rated near the bottom in some categories while enrollment continues to decline sharply. This is a complete embarrassment and not fair to our children.

Guest

Where are the BOE, our elected officials? Continuing to be silenced by Krause and Hernandez? Guess what they are the ultimate responsible party for overseeing all of this? Will they speak, will they hold any one accountable?

Guest

Where are they?Right in the middle of things creating the problems.

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