MEDINA, N.Y. – As much as officials tried, the start of classes Monday morning at Medina Central Schools was not ordinary, after police arrested an 18-year-old High School junior Sunday evening, and charged him with "making a terrorist threat," a Class D felony which carries a maximum seven years in prison, according to Chief Jose Avila.
Authorities transported Mackenzie Barrett to the Orleans County Jail after his arraignment late Sunday. Medina Police launched an investigation on Friday evening after another student contacted them about Barrett's behavior on social media, which Avila described as "very concerning." According to screenshots sent to 2 On Your Side by a Medina High family -- confirmed as authentic by Avila -- Barrett made references to carrying out violent acts at specific times during the school day. He also posted that classmates had bullied him.
After that police investigation began, Medina Central School Superintendent Jeffrey Evoy posted a notice to the district website informing families that a threat had been made to students at the high school.
"Late Friday evening," the message reads, "I was advised of an alleged threat made by a current Medina High School student regarding the individual's plans to harm other Medina High School students at school on Monday."
Evoy immediately announced the suspension of the student, later identified as Barrett after police confirmed his arrest on Sunday evening.
On Monday morning, as classes resumed, Medina police had six patrol cars stationed at the school, which is three times the usual number who routinely respond to the school campus during arrival and dismissal of students.
"We just wanted to make sure everyone felt safe and secure," Avila told WGRZ-TV.
Barrett is being held on $25,000 cash bail and $50,000 bond. According to Avila, the judge automatically entered a "not guilty" plea for Barrett at his arraignment, per standard protocol. He will appear in Town of Shelby Court on Thursday.
"It's a sad day for this wonderful community," said Evoy, who said Barrett had no serious prior behavioral issues.
"I hope all our children and staff see that this is being handled in a serious manner....In this day and age, we can't try and guess or decipher whose doing something dumb,and whose going to act in a serious manner."
In text messages allegedly sent by Barrett to a fellow student, he makes reference to gaining revenge against bullies who had harmed him.
"There are venues in our school district to handle if you been bullied or something happened to make you angry," said Avila. "There are ways to do that, and certainly making threats over the internet to the safety and lives of staff and students is not that way."