More cops, fewer pupils at New Hampshire schools after scare

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NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Extra police patrolled schools in New Hampshire's second largest school district Tuesday while fewer students attended class following a weekend threat of violence.

The threats that had been made to the Nashua school district were specific enough for officials to shut down all the public schools Monday, but they reopened Tuesday. Nashua serves about 11,500 students, including more than 3,500 in the high schools.

Nashua Police Capt. David Bailey said 13 extra officers were in the schools; usually there are three school resource officers. Other patrol officers were asked to do frequent checks when they weren't on a call.

"We feel pretty confident that the credibility of the threat has been greatly diminished," Bailey said. He said the police department would talk with school administrators before deciding whether to keep the additional officers in the schools. Police and the FBI are trying to determine who sent the threat.

The closing Monday came less than a week after threats of violence shuttered schools in Los Angeles, the nation's second largest district. A rash of threats followed in several other large school districts, including New York City, Miami, Houston and Las Vegas. Most of the school districts remained open, though some added police patrols.

In Nashua, school Superintendent Mark Conrad said the district's two high schools had about a 65 to 70 percent attendance rate Tuesday, compared to the normal 90-plus percent. He attributed the drop partly to the threat and partly to families starting Christmas break early.

He said the day was uneventful and he hadn't heard any concerns from students or staff about safety.

The threat was received by an administrator Sunday and targeted the high schools. By Monday afternoon, police said they had determined it was safe to send kids back to class.

"We've generally found that parents were both supportive of the decision to close the school and the decision to come back," Conrad said.

Some private schools in the southern New Hampshire city also closed Monday.

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