Update at 12:26 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1:
The modified lockdown at Bethel Middle School is over. Four cops remain on the scene and presently, there are no parents at the school.
"Please know that all is well at Bethel Middle School," Bethel Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith said in an e-mail letter to parents. "Students are safe and at this time there is no evidence to suggest any credible threat. We are no longer in a modified lockdown and students have resumed their normal schedule."
'An Abundance of Caution'
A search of the building took place and, according to Smith, the investigation to identify who brought the empty shell casings to school is on-going.
"At the conclusion of the search conducted by school and police officials it was determined that there was no evidence to suggest a credible threat and students resumed their regular schedules," he stated. "Through an abundance of caution we contacted the State Police K-9 unit to conduct an ancillary search and we continue to maintain a strong police presence in the building."
How Parents Can Help
"Providing a safe school climate is paramount," Smith said in his letter. "One way parents and guardians can assist in this effort is by being cognizant of the kinds of things students carry in their pockets and in their backpacks when they come to school. The empty shell casings that were found this morning were clearly inappropriate for school."
The PDF of Smith's letter is attached to this article.
The original report, posted at 10:29 a.m. on Feb. 1, follows:
The reported finding of empty shell casings from a .22 caliber weapon has led to a modified lockdown at Bethel Middle School, according to the superintendent's office.
School officials say all students are safe and there is no cause for immediate concern. The following message was sent to all school parents, according to the superintendent's office:
"Due to an abundance of caution we are looking to identify the student who brought them to school and with the cooperation of the Bethel police, we are conducting a search of the entire building. All students are safe and we expect to have this resolved very shortly. Please DO NOT come to the school to pick your children up."
Bethel is the next town over from Newtown, where 20 first graders and six educators were killed on Dec. 14, 2012, when a lone gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in one of the most deadly school shootings in U.S. history. The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, ultimately took his own life, police said.
Since the Newtown shooting, Bethel schools have taken new steps to improve school safety.