BARKER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Barker Central High School seniors were on a field trip Thursday in Lewiston when they say a man they encountered made violent threats against them.
The students said they were scared and believe Lewiston Police should have done more to help. The police say no charges were filed because there were no statements made by the victims.
“What came in as an argument or possibly threats. We responded,” Lewiston Chief of Police Frank Previte said. “We found that it involved a group of students that were on a field trip from the Barker School district.”
Two students told News 4 the man who made the threats was known to police.
“He felt that the Barker kids were staring at him, and I believe he said something to them,” Chief Previte said.
“There was alleged to have been some threats that were made in there as well — that he made a threat, possibly with a weapon.”
The chief said officers on scene did not file any charges because, at the time, no one wanted to press charges.
“The teachers that they spoke with said no that they just called because they wanted it recorded and on file,” Chief Previte said.
Parents said the teachers did their jobs and kept students safe, but said Lewiston Police dropped the ball.
“There are probably some questions that police departments are going to have to answer as to why things weren’t handled a bit differently,” Village of Barker Mayor Aaron Nellist, a Barker parent, said.
One parent said her student was texting her while the incident unfolded and the school did not provide information until a meeting was held inside of the school Thursday evening.
“We got a group text message from the school a little after 4 I think, regarding that there was a police-involved incident,” Nellist said.
Parents wanted faster communication, but they said Barker Schools are safe. Barker’s superintendent said there will be stepped-up security in the school on Friday.
“In light of all of the things that have been going on, we are going to have some additional security. Law enforcement around the building in the morning and throughout the day,” Superintendent Jacob Reimer told News 4.
The two students News 4 spoke with say they plan to file statements with Lewiston Police.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.