School Shooting Threats Made in Notebook Lead to Stoughton High Student’s Arrest

An 18-year-old Stoughton High student was arrested after a teacher discovered a notebook containing plans for a school shooting.

A student faces charges after a notebook containing “disturbing plans for a school shooting type attack” was discovered by a teacher and turned over to , according to Executive Officer Robert Devine.

Devine said these threats were allegedly written back in August, but were discovered towards the end of the school day on Friday, April 13, SHS Principal Matt Colantonio said.

The student, 18-year-old Sean Ivaldi, has been arrested. He was arraigned on Friday, April 20, and held after a dangerousness hearing on Monday, April 23, Devine said.

The student is charged with four counts of threats to commit a crime; terroristic threats; and disturbing a school assembly.

In an email sent out to subscribers of the Stoughton High listserv on April 24, Colantonio wrote:

“A student's notebook was turned into the main office by a teacher. This notebook contained some written threats directed towards a few specific students and some staff members. The administration followed standard safety protocol. The student was removed from the high school by administration and Stoughton Police without incident.

“Those mentioned specifically in the writing were contacted immediately. Students and staff at SHS were never in any danger, and the incident is being handled by the proper authorities at this point. Stoughton Police and the high school administration worked cooperatively in addressing the situation.”

In a follow-up phone call, Colantonio said that the student has been removed from Stoughton High and there is no safety risk for those mentioned in the notebook.

The student told police that he didn’t plan on carrying out what was written in the notebook, according to Devine, but Devine said the notebook had “enough detail and concerning material.”

The student was interviewed by police detectives on April 13, evaluated, and then arrested, Devine said.

Devine said police are “confident” this student was the only one involved and police are “confident” the student had no access to firearms.

Still, Devine said that the police “can’t take the chance. [We] have to take it seriously.”

Colantonio said while it is an “unwanted situation,” school administration were quickly able to contain it.

Devine said this is a case where “the system worked.” The situation was immediately brought to the attention of Juvenile Detective Roger Hardy, Devine said. He said the police and schools have a “very good” long standing working relationship.

Devine said the police “would much rather deal” with a case like this where there are “charges for a potential crime,” than having to deal with “charges for a tragedy.”

DJ April 24, 2012 at 09:51 PM
More bad publicity for Stoughton. Did this really need to go public considering it was drafted eight months ago and never acted upon? Couldn't this have been dealt with with less drama or does every feather in the SPD cap always need to make front page news?
Jeffrey Pickette (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Hi DJ, actually it was not the SPD who went public with the story; it was the schools. Yes, it is bad publicity, but it's better to do damage control than to let rumors start. Seems like both the schools and SPD handled the situation well. Luckily, we have plenty of positive stories about Stoughton High and the other schools as well on the site. A lot of great things happen there. This is one unfortunate incident: http://stoughton.patch.com/school-news
lucy April 25, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Clearly the kid just needs fucking help and all you accopmlished was making this young boy with emotional disabillitys life worse.
LM April 25, 2012 at 12:41 AM
It's a shame no one was at the dangerousness hearing to hear what was actually written and what the judges take was. It may have been started eight months ago but it was a work in progress, being shown everywhere, and he also wrote an extensive story on facebook about a school shooting in January of 2012. He obviously needs help but one and two week stints is not going to provide that. He needs to be locked up and treated for years not weeks.
Stephanie Nicole April 25, 2012 at 01:34 AM
whats next metal detectors seriously what is going on with stoughton
Sarah April 25, 2012 at 02:38 AM
DJ, You read a story like this about a clearly troubled young man and potential for danger to other students, teachers, and police and your only concern is bad publicity? Really? Come on! I'm thankful that the teacher became aware of this before anyone got hurt and took it seriously. I hope that the appropriate professionals can get to the bottom of this situation, so that everyone involved can get the help that they need- the boy arrested, the school so that they can be aware of supports that should have been in place in the past and how they can change to better support students in the future, and those threatened so that they are able to feel safe. Very, very scary and very sad that anyone would feel that alone, angry, and desperate.
DJ April 25, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Sarah, my concern is not strictly bad publicity, but I question why negative stories that many communities keep under wraps always get plastered on the headlines in Stoughton and now plasted on the TV screen. As Stephanie exemplifies in her belief that Stoughton is somehow unique. If indeed no one was in danger according to the administration and the police, then why did it have to be made public? Jeffrey's reply that it was damage control makes some sense. There is no doubt that the child needs help but that has nothing to do with it going public. Certainly LM knows more then what was initially reported and if true, leaves me questioning why it has taken an additional four months to act if threats were published in January on Facebook? I agree with you completely hoping too that "professionals can get to the bottom of this situation so that those involved can get help and so the school may improve their support structure". I fail to see how going public will benefit anyone or make anyone any safer. If the child is ill and is no longer endangering others, then we are not entitled to this information.
Erin April 25, 2012 at 12:45 PM
DJ, Do you not feel that parents of other students at Stoughton High had an absolute right to know about this situation?
Robert Devine April 25, 2012 at 01:02 PM
To Correct, the story came to light after a public hearing at Stoughton District Court. This was not a case of either the Police Department or the School Department trying to cause the town or this family any additional grief. With that said, the reports are public record and press requests will always be handled in an honest fashion. I hope this clears up any questions.
Sarah April 25, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I think this type of situation would be a public story, no matter the community. Its a "hot button" issue (and just the sort of dramatic story that media outlets thrive on) due to the many violent school shootings our country has experienced. I did not see Stephanie's comment, but this type of thing is certainly not unique to Stoughton. I appreciate and agree with your view that Stoughton does not often make the news for positive reasons, which is a shame and is not helpful for our community. Because the student is 18 and was arrested, it is a matter of public record. And, because the students in the highschool were informed, surely the story would get out one way or another, so I don't think keeping it private is a possibility. But, I agree that the public is not entitled to the student's personal medical information. Thus, we will never know the full story, leaving much room for rumors and speculation. It is a shame and will do no good for anyone involved. In addition to providing help for the student involved, I really hope that the school takes a long hard look at themselves and doesn't simply pat themselves on the back that this was caught before any physical harm was done. If this student was feeling angry and isolated for so long, something within the school needs to change. More counseling support, more community building, better awareness and observation of student behavior and feelings.... something. These things do not happen in a vacuum.
Regina Ierardi April 25, 2012 at 01:17 PM
A 14 year old actually went through with his plans in Canton: http://www.nytimes.com/1988/03/04/us/murder-for-thrill-described-at-a-trial.html http://www.fortunecity.com/millennium/bigears/911/ Rest in Peace, Shaun
Dawn April 25, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I totally agree with you DJ. Every parent was notified by an email and a reverse 911 call, so it's not like the school was keeping it from us. Fox News stated that a "tipster" reported it to them, so I'm wondering why someone felt the need to bring this to the media. It's bad enough that his family is dealing with the fact that their son is ill and needs help, but now they have news reporters banging on their door and interviewing neighbors about what kind of a family they are. It's just not necessary. Going public doesn't benefit anyone, and only incites people to harass the family. I'm sure they are devestated by the whole situation and would like to deal with it privately. I am thankful that no one was in danger and truly hope he gets the help he needs and is not just thrown in jail. I am in no way condoning what he wrote, and would like to believe he would not have acted on it, but I do have sympathy for the family.
EC April 25, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Contrary to what certain students have been saying on Fox news and various other places, Sean wasn't a "weird kid who always talked to himself." He wasn't always like this. I used to be friends with him and he was always a very nice person who was considerate of others. While I agree that the students who were on "the list" as well as their families should know about this, I feel that there was no need to make it public knowledge. This could ultimately lead to no chance of Sean ever being able to get his life on track or his problems dealt with. His life could very well be destroyed by this incident with him not having any chance of "rehabilitation." While I agree that this is ultimately his fault for making this horrible list in the first place, I believe that it could have been dealt with privately without making it a media storm.
michelle April 25, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I am thankful that the school trying to protect my child and others. I think they did what was appropriate for the circumstances, they removed the child from the situation and got him on the road to seeking help. My sympathies to the family for having their personal lives judged and scrutinized by those who do not even know them. May you find the proper help to get your son through this so he can go on to be a productive contributor to our world.
michelle April 25, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Also, thank you for Officer Devine and Mr.Pickette for trying to keep the truth in reporting and helping to dispel any rumors.
Heather April 25, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I fail to see how it does not benefit the people. Also, I find that the majority of things that happen in Stoughton do NOT get plastered in the news and papers. I lived in Stoughton for 36 years and I can say I know of many things that had happened over the years and were never mentioned. I like to know what is going on in the schools. My children attend them. As someone who lives in the town and pays taxes i find that it is our buisness whats going on. Unless they are under 18 their names should be posted for public viewing. Perhaps the embarrassment and dissapointment may make them think twice next time before committing some of these crimes.
jahida spellberg April 25, 2012 at 10:47 PM
wow for as long as I've known sean i never thought he would do anything like this #smh!
Dawn April 26, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I agree with EC and Michelle. People should not judge and assume things, when they don't know the family. And we all know how the media has a way of conveniently twisting the facts to gain more attention. Ultimately, this does not help anyone, especially Sean. Hopefully he will get the help he needs, and be able to get his life back on track.
Brian April 27, 2012 at 04:25 PM
It doesn't matter if you know or don't know the family.This is not about judgements or assumptions. A student was writing about killing people in school. Everyone deserves to know about this. Public safety should be the main focus here. Hopefully the young man can get the help he needs. Sticking our heads in the sand won't help anyone
SoxFan April 27, 2012 at 07:51 PM
By Lauren Jiggetts, NBC 5 Chicago The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting the expulsion of three Northwest Indiana girls for a Facebook conversation resembling a school "hit list." The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Griffith Public Schools saying the conversation was "clearly meant to be humorous, as evidenced by their repeated use of emoticons such as ;)…" The organization said the expulsion violated the eight graders' freedom of speech.The girls insist it was all a bad joke."It was just very dumb, and I wish I could take it back," said 14-year-old Sabrina Munsie."We were just joking around," said 14-year-old Kennedy Fortier.
mom2qts April 29, 2012 at 04:34 PM
If these girls get back into school, they should demand to get a better education. Who in this day of age doesn't know that you can't put stuff like that out there for the world to see? I'm sorry for the community to be shaken like this but I'm happy that it was dealt with openly. Job done well by everyone involved!!
SJP April 29, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Jeffrey, FYI the timeline is also VERY troubling as apparently the initial discovery was on April 13, April 20th is the date that many of these wackos choose (think Columbine HS) as their zero hour as April 20, is Adolph Hitlers birthday.
RCA April 30, 2012 at 01:08 AM
There is nothing fair or just or even accurate about what they report. Rarely is there front page follow up if everything is dropped or the person is innocent. Why? Well, because that is not sensational enough. The Ivaldis will be scarred by this forever, I know because I am, as is my child, because of a similar situation. Even if Sean is found innocent or the charges dropped, he will still have a permanent arrest record, which will follow him for the rest of his life. Every time he tries to get a job, or when he files a cori so he can go on a field trip with his child someday, it will follow him, for writing his feelings. Psychiatrist tells people to write things down instead of leaving them bottled up, it is a common form of therapy. So then, is everyone who says “ OMG I'm going to kill you” in needed of being arrested? What about every adolescent girl who writes her friend saying “My boyfriend John, is such an a**, I'm going to shoot him for cheating on me.” (A name, a method, and intent) Should the girl be arrested and tried? Who decides who is serious or not and should be arrested? And why is it an arrested, that will haunt the person? Should he/she not be remanded for a psychiatric evaluation instead? Now to the girls that commented on face book…. Because they made smiley faces we should all think that is somehow different? I guess Sean should have put pretty flowers on his paper.
RCA April 30, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Here is the way it will be….The person with the best lawyer and the most money will win. Or the person who uses the press for their own soapbox or public forum and gets the most public support will win. I don’t pretend to know the particulars of this case. Maybe he is dangerous or maybe not. But what I do know is it is a slippery slope when a crime is not actually committed, and the decisions of the court are based on the pretrial, trial of the court of public opinion based on whatever crap the press decides to feed us. Writing is not a crime. If so Steven King should be in jail forever. Anyone ever seen The Human Centipede? The most disturbing movie ever. That man should be in jail. Not only did he think a heinous crime, he wrote it, and then made a movie about it. Also if using these kids to set an example is so effective, why are these crimes continuing? There have been many school massacres in high schools and colleges since Columbine. Kids are just going to find sneakier ways to carry out their crimes. As they say where there is a will there is a way. Also if this kid was so dangerous why was he allowed to roam the streets for a week before his arrest? And this does not “teach them a lesson”.


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