NEWFIELD, N.Y. —  A fifth grade student is accused of threatening to shoot other students at Newfield Elementary last week, a school official confirmed.

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The incident happened March 30 and parents of fifth-graders were informed about the incident two days later, according to a letter by school officials.

The letter stated, “A student in grade 5 made threats to a few students that he was going to get a gun and shoot them.”

Cheryl Thomas, Newfield Central School District Superintendent, said principal Vicky Volpicelli investigated the incident.

“She determined that this was an inappropriate comment and nothing else –that there was no danger to the children,” Thomas said, adding that the student made the comment out of frustration.

She said the letter was sent home to fifth grade parents days later, at the conclusion of the investigation. Parents of children in other grade levels were not notified, she said, because students in other grade levels were not involved in the incident.

Thomas said the school district does not have a “zero tolerance” policy and incidents are dealt with on a case-by -case basis. She noted that if the threat had seemed valid or if it seemed as though people were in danger, the situation would have been handled differently.

She declined to comment on what, if any, disciplinary action was taken in regard to the incident, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

A parent posted the letter sent home by the school on Facebook, stating in the Facebook status that she was upset the school waited days to inform parents about the incident. Seven days later, the post has more than 100 shares and slews of comments from people, alleging to be parents of children at the school, who are upset they were not notified or not notified in a timely manner about the incident.

“I’m not quite sure why they’re blowing it out of proportion,” Thomas said. “This was handled perfectly well.”

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.