Tag Archives: Bedford Middle School

Photo Challenge #440

The official-looking sign says “No Unnecessary Shifting or Braking.”


We’re used to ignoring signs like “30 Minute Parking. Violators Will Be Towed at Their Own Expense.”

And “Speed Limit 25.”

But this must be the most random, least enforceable sign among the 72 squintillion all around town.

Was there once an epidemic of shifting and/or braking? What is “unnecessary”? And who even “shifts” these days?

The sign — last week’s Photo Challenge — can be seen in the Bedford Middle School parking lot. (Click here to see.)

John D. McCarthy, Andrew Colabella, Seth Schachter, Mousumi Ghosh, Jonathan Alloy, Brendan Malin and Carl Addison Swanson all knew the spot.

Presumably not because they were arrested for a violation.

Perennial Photo Challenge winner Andrew Colabella won’t be listed next week. That’s because he’s turning the tables, and submitting instead of answering this week’s puzzler.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Sure, it’s a survey marker. It says so right on it. But where in Westport would you see this?

If you know, click “Comments” below.

Meanwhile, drive safely. No unnecessary shifting or braking!

(Here’s another challenge: Please support “06880.” Just click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: BMS, Budget Process, BOF …

Matthew Balga — the 54-year-old Norwalk resident killed in a motor vehicle/pedestrian accident Saturday night on Riverside Avenue — worked at The Whelk, not far from where he was struck.

A small memorial honored his life yesterday, near the scene of his death.

(Photo/Jennifer Johnson)


This morning’s “06880” lead story described Bedford Middle School’s 7th grade project: sending letters and artwork to their counterparts in Westport’s sister city of Lyman, Ukraine.

But that’s not the only way BMS engages with the world outside Westport.

Yesterday, 6th graders capped off a 2-month “Walk for Water” fundraiser. It coincided with their social studies Africa unit, featuring the book “A Long Walk to Water” to Linda Sue Park.

Students learned that many people around the globe lack reliable access to clean, fresh water. They walk an average of 3.7 miles — sometimes several times a day — to access potable water.

Over the course of 2 months, each BMS 6th grader and member completed a 3.7- mile walk, to understand the struggles that come with fresh water insecurity, and raise awareness and funds for the cause.

Bedford’s 6th grade students and associated community raised over $10,000 to support the “Iron Giraffe Challenge 2023.” The non-profit organization provides safe, fresh water and hygiene to villages in South Sudan.

The cost to build a new well is $15,000. As thanks, a plaque will be placed next to a new well in the village when it is built.

Yesterday, BMS 6th graders participated in a virtual meeting with Elissa Rowley from the Water for South Sudan organization. She described their work, and answered questions.

Then the 6th graders, teachers and staff walked to the Staples High School track, to recreate their Walk for Water.

Contributions are still being accepted. To give, and learn more, click here.

6th graders meet with Elissa Rowley yesterday.


It’s budget season. Buckle up!

Whether you’re an old-timer or newcomer; whether you know Westport’s budget process, or don’t have a clue, this week’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast is for you.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker explains the budget season, step by step. She also introduces the proposed 2023-24 budget, explaining how it was developed and where the money goes. (Or hopes to go.)

Click below, for this very informative Y’s Men of Westport and Weston feature:


Speaking of the budget (spoiler alert): The Board of Finance plays a crucial role.

Who are they? How do they operate?

The League of Women Voters pull back the curtain on March 15 (7 p.m., Westport Library). Chair Lee Caney and others will explain everything you need to know, at this free event.


“Free Renty” is a documentary about Tamara Lanier, an African American woman now living in Norwich, Connecticut, who was determined to force Harvard University to cede possession of daguerreotypes of her great-great-great grandfather, Renty Taylor — an enslaved man — and his daughter Delia.

The images were commissioned in 1850 by a Harvard professor to prove the superiority of the white race. The film tracks Lanier’s lawsuit against Harvard, and features attorney Benjamin Crump and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The documentary will be screen on March 18 (6 p.m.), at The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport — followed by a discussion led by Lanier herself.

Admission is free. A potluck dinner is served before the viewing, at 5. For more information, email events@uuwestport.org.

Tamara Lanier


VersoFest 2023’s concert pass is now on sale. It includes 3 shows at the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum:

  • Friday, March 10 fundraiser with supergroup Blue Coupe (members of Alice Cooper and Blue Öyster Cult)
  • Thursday, March 30: Sunflower Bean and DJ Hysterica
  • Friday, March 31: The Smithereens, Amilia K. Spicer, DJ Miriam Linna.

The $90 pass is a 22% discount from the $115 face value. Only 150 are available; click here to purchase. For more information on VersoFest, click here.


Speaking of entertainment:

Brian Marsella headlines this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, March 9, 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. shows; dinner at 7 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399).

Called “a psychedelic Art Tatum,” Marsella recently finished a world tour. He’s joined by bassist Reid Taylor and drummer Brian Floody — returning after a fall appearance at The Post — and series curator/saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Brian Marsella


New to Westport: Vanessa Lewis’ latest iteration of her Penfield Collective retail concept, in Sconset Square. She brings the physical store from Fairfield, and a customer base from far and wide.

Penfield Collective is a “highly edited collection of must-have apparel and accessories.” That fits in well, with many of its design and lifestyle neighbors in the recently renovated shopping center on Myrtle Avenue.

Click here to learn more.

Vanessa Lewis


Large houses now line the banks of Sherwood Mill Pond. But there is still room for nature, as shown in this “Westport … Naturally” photo by Rick Benson:

(Photo/Rick Benson)


And finally … Gary Rossington, a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd — and their last surviving original member — died Sunday at 71.

The guitarist survived both a bad car accident in 1976 (which inspired the song “That Smell”), and the 1977 plane crash that killed 3 band members. Rossington suffered 2 broken arms, a broken leg, and a punctured stomach and liver.

He had quintuple bypass surgery in 2003, suffered a heart attack in 2015, and underwent several heart surgeries later. Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

(From Westport’s budget process to VersoFest — and on to Lynyrd Skynrd — the “06880” daily Roundup is your place for news and information. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

BMS Inspires Westport’s Sister City Youth

More than 70 years ago, Marigny was recovering from World War II.

Westport adopted the French town as our sister city. We sent clothes, food and gifts. Students here joined the effort, writing letters to their counterparts. Decades later, recipients of those notes have not forgotten how much that meant.

Today Westport has another sister city: Lyman, Ukraine. The personal tradition continues, at Bedford Middle School.

When physical education teacher Dan Barberio heard about the Lyman connection, he wanted to help. He and fellow Spirit & Leadership Team members Don Savage and Sara Harding got every 7th grade student involved.

The youngsters found many ways to connect. Some wrote notes. Others drew pictures, or created origami.

They described their lives here, and expressed concern for the war-torn town. “You got this!” one BMS student wrote.

“I know how strong your country is,” another said. “I have so much respect for you.”

Some of the messages were written in Ukrainian — by a few students here who know the language, and by others using Google Translate.

Two languages, one message.

There 200-plus letters and pieces of art will be delivered — personally — to Lyman next month. Ukraine Aid International — the non-profit organization formed by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — will ensure that students in our sister city receive the messages of support and hope.

Inspiration through origami.

Their schools have been destroyed. Their lives have been shattered.

But they will know that at a school called Bedford, in a town named Westport, strangers — now friends — care.

Roundup: Flooding, BMS Earthquake Help, Graffiti …

Today’s trash pick-up at Elaine Road has been canceled, due to predicted bad weather. A new date will be announced soon.


The coastal flood warning — in effect until noon today — is real. Here was the scene earlier this morning at Canal Road on Saugatuck Shores:

(Photo/Gene Borio)

And high tide was still 2 hours away.


When the Bedford Middle School community learned that Heba, one of their popular cafeteria workers, had relatives in Syria — and was still waiting for news after the earthquake — they swung into action.

In just a few days, donations of coats, sweaters, shoes, scarves, hats, blankets (and backpacks filled to the brim) poured in. Many of the gifts were new, or almost new.

Yesterday, Dan Barberio — a physical education teacher and member of the Spirit Leadership Team, who helped organize the effort — packed his van. He delivered it all to a mosque in New Haven, for shipment to Syria today.

Congratulations, BMS, for your important, school-wide effort.

Dan Barberio (far left) and Bedford Middle School students, with some of the collection for Syrian earthquake victims.


A reader found new racist graffiti — this time, on the picnic tables at Compo’s South Beach. She reported it to Westport Police.

Previous racist graffiti at the state boat launch underneath I-95 was also reported, and immediately removed.

Racist raffiti at the state boat launch. (Photo/Nathan Selsky)


Danbury countered Staples’ fast start with a faster finish — and excellent defense — at last night’s boys basketball FCIAC championship.

The Hatters’ 69-53 win, at Wilton High School, denied the Wreckers their first league championship since 1963, and their first ever on the court. (The previous title came by having the best record.)

Danbury — seeded 3rd in the tourney — had beaten #4 Staples 63-54, in the regular season.

But the blue-and-whites’ superb season continues. First-year coach Dave Goldshore’s squad — now 17-6 — begins action in the state Division II on Tuesday.

Ranked 7th, they host #26 Manchester. Tipoff is 6 p.m.

The 2023 Staples High School boys basketball team.


Wakeman Town Farm is getting a jump on spring.

Among its just-announced events:

Old-Fashioned Maple Syrup Boiling (Saturday, March 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; free). Farmers Ryan Brunelle and Sharon Stone boil maple sap into pure maple syrup from trees tapped on the Farm. Ask questions about tapping your own trees, and checking out WTF’s homestead-sized evaporator.

Learn About Chicken Keeping (March 27, April 24, May 8): A 3-session series for the novice; take 1, 2 or all 3. At the end, attendees of all 3 sessions can “adopt” 2 of the chicks raised on the farm, and bring home a starter pack with feeder, waterer, wood shavings and 5 pounds of organic feed. $60 per session; $50 for starter pack. Click here for more information, and to register.

Lamb socials (selected dates, March 31 through May 1; $20): Snuggle and  hold lambs, to socialize the new flock; watch them play. All ages welcome. Click here for details and registration.

Home Vegetable Gardening: Dos and Don’ts (Monday, April 10, 7 p.m.). WTF farmer Sharon Stone describes how the Farm prepares for the growing season, past mistakes they’ve learned from, and the importance of maintenance and management. All ages and gardening levels are welcome. Click here to register.

Lunch and Learn to Cook an Italian Meal with Chef Vita (May 16, 11 a.m.; $125). On the menu: orecchiette pasta. Click here to register.

In addition, registration for spring programs begins online next Friday (March 10, 9 a.m.). Click here for details.

Down at the farm … (Photo/Lauri Weiser)


Staples Player alum Remy Laifer has joined the national tour of “Fiddler on the Roof.” He’ll play Mendel.

The Class of 2017 graduate will also understudy for Motel — a role he played in Players’ production of the same show. (Hat tips: David Roth and Kerry Long)

Remy Laifer


Save the date, for one of our town’s best (and most delicious) fundraisers:

Taste of Westport returns May 10 (6 p.m., the Inn at Longshore).

The 17th annual event — featuring fantastic food, wine and spirits from more than 2 dozen of the area’s best vendors, plus live music ad a silent auction — benefits CLASP Homes. The non-profit provides homes, support and services to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Tickets are $125 per person from March 10 until April 9, then $150 until they sell out. Click here to purchase. For sponsorship opportunities, email rhammond@clasphomes.org or call 203-226-7895, ext. 144.


NBC Connecticut’s “CT Live” featured a fascinating interview yesterday about the Westport Country Playhouse.

In just 5 minutes, cultural associate and archivist Bruce Miller gave a history of the famed space; described the stage, sets and costumes, and added a plea to support live theater everywhere, in these post-pandemic days.

Click here to see.

Screenshot from “CT Live.”


Rita Leyden died Thursday, at 85. She and her husband Tom — who died in 2020 — lived in Westport from 1965 through 2019.

Her son Tommy posted this tribute on Facebook:

“We mourn today because Mom has gone home, but we’re also celebrating and giving thanks for how fortunate we were to absorb her spirit, wisdom and love for 85 years.

“Where will I go for my fill-up of confidence and reassurance? A selfish reflection, but I’m not alone in saying Rita Leyden was the queen of providing a boost of conviction when you needed it, sometimes right after she tactfully told you there was room for improvement.

“Mom was a woman of extraordinary elegance and faith, a rare fusion of class and humility. Her virtuous essence was pure, her love was sacrificial and whole. She believed in reconciliation and the power of positive reinforcement, always empowering others to find their right path as she offered support.

“Inspired each day by her dedication to Catholicism, her regular trips to church kept Mom centered on surrendering her soul to God and living a life of generous example. She trusted prayer in times of need and times of thanksgiving. With a Miraculous Medal always around her neck, Mom sought peace and graciously granted forgiveness to everyone in her life who sought it. Those who couldn’t find the strength to ask, she forgave anyway, and that’s a lesson we can all carry with us.

“Her smile was soothing, the signature grin of an eager hostess, pleased to open her home to guests. When you entered 6 Bradley Street, and 2 Garden Street before that, you were part of the family. Now, that may mean you had to take the buns out of the oven, grab a knife out of the drawer or bring a plate to the table, but if you were spending time laughing with Rita, even washing a pile of dishes by hand was fun.

“Perhaps most endearing was Mom’s true appreciation for others. It takes great humility and self-confidence to listen intently and Mom was truly engaged. With a warm hug and intent eye contact, she would ask about your life, your accomplishments and your struggles because she cared about each and how they affected you. If you wanted her opinion, Mom would offer intelligent insight.

“She was able to balance her words of support and encouragement with wit and humor, sharply delivering a memorable punch-line or zinger with pizazz. Every family has classic moments and Mom delivered more than a few.

“Even in her final days, Mom was always thinking about the details that make a difference. Just last week, I made her famous chocolate chip bars for a colleague. She reminded me to cut them a little smaller than I did the last time.

“Like the stories in the thousands of books she flipped through over the course of eight glorious decades, her life story was page-turning in its excitement, colored with fantastic twists and turns, drama, sadness and laughter.

“We spoke 2 weeks ago about growing old and reaching the end. Mom shrugged and told me, ‘There’s nothing you can do. Just hang in there the best you can. It’s part of the journey.’

“Another morsel of wisdom from the woman who never failed to fill up my tank of reassurance.

“Give Dad a hug. I’m glad you’re reunited.”

Rita and Tom Leyden


A river runs through downtown Westport.

And though we don’t always notice, it’s one of our greatest natural resources. Andrew Fishman captured it recently, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Andrew Fishman)


And finally … in honor of Remy Laifer’s new touring gig (story above), here’s a video from his 2015 production, with Staples Players:


Photo Challenge #421

For over 8 years, our Sunday Photo Challenge has highlighted scenes all over Westport.

Some are easy. Some are — well, challenging.

But none elicited as many wrong answers as last week’s. Responses were — literally — all over the map.

Readers guessed that Lynn Untermeyer Miller’s image showed Longshore, Winslow Park, Temple Israel, Taylortown Marsh, Sherwood Island State Park, the Leonard Schine Preserve, Riverside Park and Greens Farms Academy.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no and no.

The serene scene actually showed the walking path behind Bedford Middle School. It links Staples High — by the pool and Paul Lane Field — with the Wakeman Park athletic facilities. (Click here to see.)

Jen Dennison was — after quite a while — the first reader to correctly guess the spot. Brandon Malin — who said he spent plenty of time walking and skateboarding there, during Staples phys. ed. classes — followed soon.

One reader groused: “I don’t think it’s a fair picture. There are so many paths that look like that in Westport. When you’re walking and enjoying nature you don’t study exactly where you are. It’s sort of saying I’ll meet you near the trees.”

Hey: That’s why it’s called a Photo “Challenge”!

This week’s image might elicit a similar complaint. Sure, it could be many places in Westport.

But it’s only one.

Chew on it for a while. Then — if you think you know where you’d see this — click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Westport Lockdown: Part Of Nationwide Rise In Fake Threats

In the aftermath of this morning’s lockdown at Staples High School, and a “shelter in place” order at Bedford Middle School, superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice provided this information:

This morning the Westport Police received a phone call indicating a potential threat at Staples High School. Although we have since learned that multiple schools across the state received the same threat, at the time, the response protocol warranted a thorough onsite evaluation of Staples, including an armed room by room threat assessment.

The incident began at 9:10 a.m. Westport’s Emergency Communications Center received a call from a person reporting an active shooter inside Staples High School.

The patrol and detective divisions as well as officers in administrative rolls immediately went to the school. As officers were responding they contacted the School Resource Officer, who said there was no indication of a problem at the location.

Despite the possibility of a hoax, the high school was placed on lockdown. Police proceeded as if there was an active threat.

Because police weapons were visible to students and staff, teachers were asked to focus on the social/emotional needs of students for the rest of the day. Emotional support was available for anyone who needed it.

Scarice added, “While this evaluation was conducted, all of the other schools in Westport were supported with an onsite police presence and put into place appropriate safety protocols.

“We are grateful for the swift response of our police department and the communication between the schools and WPD in handling this matter.

Nearly an hour after Staples High School went into lockdown this morning, an ambulance and police car sat outside the building. (Photo/Jim Honeycutt)

Connecticut is not the only state targeted for fake threats.

According to a Washington Post article last month — sent today to “06880” by reader Tracy Porosoff — “a troubling scenario” is happening in schools across the country. The story begins:

A call comes in about a shooting at the school. Someone has a gun. Police respond, only to discover the report was a hoax.

More than a dozen schools in Minnesota were targeted with “swatting” incidents, reports of a false shooter or mass-casualty event. Threats in Denver forced the city to shut down all 25 of its public library branches, and an area high school to cancel classes Wednesday amid a surge of hoaxes reported at schools across the state. A Texas teen was arrested for calling in a fake threat to a campus as a “joke,” prompting a warning from Fort Worth police against school hoaxes.

The calls are part of a trend that is disrupting school days, prompting lockdowns and further traumatizing communities already on edge. Although these threats are fake, the menace of real violence looms just months after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at a Uvalde, Tex., elementary school…

Schools in 14 states — Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — have reported swatting incidents since Sept. 13, according to the national group of school resource officers.

Click here for the full Washington Post story.

Lockdown At Staples; “Shelter In Place” At Bedford

Westport superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says:

“This morning, a call was made to the Westport Police Department that warranted a lockdown at Staples High School.

“As a precaution, Bedford Middle School was placed in a ‘shelter in place.; The WPD is on scene at this moment investigating and the building is secure.

“When a school is in a lockdown or ‘shelter in place,’ no visitors are allowed on campus. All district schools have implemented safety procedures until this matter is resolved.”

Career Change Pays Off For Teacher Of The Year

In the middle of Liz Smith’s demonstration lesson, while applying for a job at Bedford Middle School, the fire alarm went off.

That could be a metaphor for teachers everywhere. They always face unexpected challenges. And they’re always putting out fires.

Smith exemplifies her profession. A longtime and highly regarded BMS 6th grade science instructor, she is at various times an educator, psychiatrist, cheerleader, motivator, entertainer, disciplinarian, story-teller, judge, problem-solver, comedian, and surrogate mother.

And that’s just in one period.

Smith is Westport’s 2022 Teacher of the Year. She downplays the honor — “it could have been anyone I work with at Bedford, or anywhere else in the district” — but it is she who advances to state and national Teacher of the Year competitions.

And it is she who was singled out by her principal, Adam Rosen, at a ceremony before the start of the school year.

He described Smith as “universally beloved,” embodying traits like “creativity, ingenuity, moxie and humor.” When he announced her name, she got a standing ovation.

The Westport Teacher of the Year grew up in Leicestershire, England. After college in Liverpool she worked for Kraft Foods. The reason: “They gave me a car, and paid me a lot of money.”

But Smith left, to train as a chiropractor. Six months before graduating, her husband Ian was transferred to the US.

They arrived here 2 weeks before 9/11, figuring they’d be here 2 years.

They’re still in the US. In fact, Liz and Ian are now American citizens.

Liz Smith, her husband Ian, daughters Amy and Katie (both Staples High School graduates) and Amy’s fiance David. They marry next May.

Her route to the classroom started when her girls attended private school in Greenwich. Smith came in to teach anatomy and physiology.

She loved it so much, she applied to Yale University’s year-long program that prepares men and women for career changes, to teach in the understaffed areas of math and science.

“I certainly could not have gotten into Yale any other way,” Smith jokes.

She was accepted. Then came that interesting sample lesson at Bedford — and the sudden, shoot-all-plans-to-hell fire alarm.

But she was impressive. Then-principal Angie Wormser hired her immediately.

That was in 2006. Sixteen years later, Smith is still at Bedford — and still loving it.

Liz Smith (2nd from left) with her Bedford Middle School team (from left): Bebe Boulais (math), Cassie Carroll (language arts), Jeremy Royster (social studies teacher). Missing: Liz Gonzalez (special education.)

Interestingly, she says, as a child she was terrified of school. She spent weeks in a kind principal’s office, before she was able to face a classroom.

“I don’t think I had the patience to be in a class filled with 11-year-olds until I was 40,” Smith says.

But she adores her students. “They’re just at the age when they can read and write, and they’re excited to learn new things. But their hormones haven’t kicked in — yet,” she notes.

Last week, her classes had just finished their first lab. New to Bedford, and new to the scientific process, they were “so intense and eager. They loved putting on their aprons and safety goggles.”

The 6th grade curriculum includes life science, earth science and physical science. Smith’s goal is to have them want to always learn more science. It’s hands-on, and interactive, with students learning to ask questions and find answers — not the rote memorization Smith had when she was in school.

But  there is much more to a modern classroom than identifying rocks in a lab. A random comment sparks a discussion, and that day’s lesson gets interrupted. Today’s tweens go through a lot, and Smith is attuned to her important role in their social and emotional education too.

The post-COVID educational landscape revealed “many gaps” in her students’ communication and life skills, Smith says. As a teacher — and a BMS team leader — she has worked hard to address those.

The door to Smith’s classroom welcomes all.

Though “thrilled to bits” to be named Teacher of the Year, Smith says little will change. She’ll keep doing what she does: “getting involved in the important things like motivation, social and emotional learning, working with our staff. Those are the things that make getting to the content of our curriculum possible.”

After 16 years, many little moments stand out. There was, for example, the girl who told Smith before the holidays: “I could only get gifts for 3 teachers.”

“Oh,” Smith said, preparing to accept the present. “You’re so sweet!”

“Well, you weren’t one of them,” the girl replied.

This year, Smith got a different gift: Westport Teacher of the Year.

It’s well deserved. Because ever since 2006, Liz Smith has given her students the gift of her talents, time, energy, passion and love.

(“06880” covers education in Westport — and much more. Please click here to support this blog.)

Unsung Hero #246

Mary Ellen Adipietro writes:

My family avoided an awful tragedy this past weekend.

My husband Joe and I are so grateful for the heroic efforts of Tucker Peters. He’s a rising Staples High School junior, and he saved my son Mark’s life.

Both of them are on the Staples sailing team (Mark is a rising sophomore). They were at a sailing camp on Long Island.

Due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, their boat flipped over. My son was trapped in his harness underwater. Unable to unhook himself and get to the surface, he passed out.

Tucker freed himself, and called for help. He was instrumental in getting Mark on the coach boat, and was the first to start performing CPR. I have since learned that our kids all learn CPR in middle school health class.

Tucker Peters (left) and Mark Adipietro. Both are junior flag officers at Pequot Yacht Club.

The EMTs and police said that things could have ended quite differently if not for Tucker’s quick thinking and actions. A first responder said, “That kid is a true hero. Things don’t usually go that well in these situations.”

I would like to give my undying gratitude to Tucker Peters and his family, as well as the staff at Bedford Middle School who teach that class. It worked! It literally saved a life.

And as soon as Tucker is cleared, they’ll both be back together, on the water.

Congratulations, Tucker! He (and his teachers) are truly Unsung Heroes.

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[UPDATE] Scarice Adds Details On “Suspicious Person”

Following up on the Westport Police Department’s information about this morning’s “sheter in place” order at Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools, superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says:

Earlier this morning a student who missed their bus walked to the Dattco bus yard and requested a ride to Bedford Middle School. Personnel at the bus yard mobilized to provide transportation for this student.

Some time thereafter, personnel at the Dattco bus yard contacted the school district’s transportation coordinator to inform the coordinator about their plan to transport the student, but unfortunately provided incomplete and inaccurate information regarding the student’s identity and school.  Our transportation coordinator immediately contacted the BMS and central office administration.

The administration then swiftly contacted our Westport Police Department School Security Officer (SSO) and School Resource Officer (SRO), and the Staples administration.  After investigating to determine the identity and location of the student through video surveillance, our SRO discovered that the student was dropped off at Bedford Middle School, but then left the bus and walked towards Staples High School.

As a precaution, our SSO and SRO then sought additional resources from the Westport Police Department.  Both schools were placed in a shelter-in-place.

Through collaboration with the school and district administration, the student was then correctly identified, interviewed, and it was determined that the shelter-in-place could be lifted.

The administration is committed to identifying the breakdown of the Dattco bus yard communication and protocols in this incident.

Again, I have complete confidence that at no time were our students and staff in danger. Additionally, it is clear that the positive and collaborative relationship we enjoy with the Westport Police Department, and the swift actions of our Bedford and Staples administration, along with our transportation coordinator and central office administration, all contributed to the timely resolution of this matter.