We received a community notification from the Wellesley Police Department regarding an unusual/suspicious incident that occurred at the Sprague School on September 13, 2017 in the morning:
A Sprague School student reported that he had seen an unidentified male with a beard in the bushes near the Oak Street side of the school on Wednesday morning before school. The student reported that the man offered the boy a cell phone and asked him to help him participate in the “Blue Whale” challenge. The student immediately left the scene and there was no further contact. The person was described as a white male possibly in his 20s, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with long brown curly hair that was in a ponytail. The male also had a beard but no mustache.
The Wellesley Police Department is working with the Wellesley Public Schools to investigate this incident. The Wellesley Police Department is sending this message so the entire community can be aware of the unusual circumstances. We have not had any other reports of this type of behavior. The incident is being actively investigated by the Wellesley Police Department.
Please remind your child to report anything that seems strange to a teacher/parent and to quickly get away from any strange situation. Please call 9-1-1 to report any suspicious incidents or people as well.
This isn’t the first time Wellesley officials have warned families about the “Blue Whale Challenge.” Back in July, Superintendent David Lussier sent out an email to families warning about the deeply creepy “game,” which has made the rounds on social media.
In the “Blue Whale Challenge,” participants are encouraged to carry out a list of fifty tasks that start out with cutting, move on to desensitizing oneself to heights by, say, going to a roof and standing on the edge, and culminating in suicide. Throughout the tasks, the administrator, known as the “whale”, who does not participate in the tasks, is said to require proof through pictures and other occasional check-ins. The term blue whale comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is likened to suicide.
Although some reports of the challenge have been uncovered as a hoax, one administrator arrested earlier this year by police who have taken it all very seriously is now in a Siberian jail. An unrepentant Philipp Budeikin, 21, was arrested by Russian police and claimed that his victims were nothing more than biological waste and that he was simply cleansing society. According to The Daily Mail, Budeikin was identified as the ringleader of the Challenge and “was imprisoned by a Siberian court in the country’s first conviction of a so-called administrator of macabre social media death groups preying on vulnerable teenagers.”
Ukraine, Portugal, Spain, Britain and France have also reported the existence of Blue Whale groups.
Superintendent Lussier in his July email said:
Dear Members of the Wellesley Community,
I want share information that school districts across the state have received about a dangerous social media app called, “The Blue Whale Challenge.” The Blue Whale
USA Today (May 25, 2017) reported on how it works – “Over the course of 50 days, an anonymous administrator assigns kids self-harm tasks. The challenges may start by asking kids to watch a scary movie and then grow increasingly dangerous to include acts like cutting. On the 50th day, the participant is supposed to commit suicide. The game can reach kids through social-media channels like Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube and texting.”
It’s very concerning because these apps are targeting a very vulnerable population. We would encourage parents to:
* ask your kids if there are ANY new games or popular challenges that they or their friends are hearing about or playing on social media or online
* search for hashtags like #BlueWhaleChallenge and/or photos of a blue whale on your kids’ social media accounts.
This message is not meant to alarm anyone, but rather to encourage parents to be proactive in protecting their children from potential negative influences on the internet.
Wellesley Municipal Light Plant is doing its part to help those who lost power as a result of Hurricane Irma in Florida.
The American Public Power Association put out a request through the Northeast Public Power Association for mutual aid, and as a member of both organizations, the WMLP has sent four line workers and two vehicles to assist in power restoration. Wellesley has done the same several times in the recent past, according to Don Newell, Assistant Director of Engineering and Line Operations at the WMLP.
“WMLP’s Steve Neshe, George Kelly, Jon Cliff and Tony Franquiz left early Sunday morning as part of the NEPPA response of 28 crews heading for three different municipal utilities in Florida,” Newell says. “WMLP crews arrived in Orlando late Monday night and reported for a safety and local work practices orientation Tuesday morning. Crews will begin taking work assignments Tuesday afternoon and will be working sixteen hour shifts until power is restored.”
Newell says that in addition to bringing their tools and equipment, the crew had to bring a two-to-three day supply of water, two weeks of clothing, personal necessities and foul weather gear.
— Wellesley Police (@WellesleyPolice) September 11, 2017
At the Wellesley Hills Fire Department Headquarters on Route 9, Wellesley this morning observed the 16 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks. A crowd of about 30 people were on hand to remember the events and those who died in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A total of 2,977 people were killed on 9/11/2001. Of those who died, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers, and 31 were officers at the Port Authority.
I spoke with Fire Chief Rick DeLorie who said, “As long as I’m here, we intend to hold this service every year to remember those who died and were injured on 9/11.”
Three articles were affected:
This Article was adopted by the Town to assure the preservation and enhancement of the Town of Wellesley’s historical and cultural heritage by preserving, rehabilitating or restoring whenever possible, buildings that have distinctive architectural features or historical associations that contribute to the historic fabric of the Town.
This means that any home that was built in whole or in part on or before December 31, 1949 requires a Demolition Permit in order to be demolished. Buildings owned by the Town of Wellesley and dormitories and residence halls owned by educational institutions used to house students or staff are not considered Eligible Buildings for purposes of this Article.
15 individual Revolving Funds were authorized including:
Council on Aging Social and Cultural Programs Fund: $100,000.00
Funds programs for senior citizens, under the direction of the Council on Aging.
Recreation Summertime Revenues Fund: $30,000.00
Expenditures for summertime and special event programs and activities, under the direction of the Recreation Department.
Street Opening Maintenance Fund: $225,000.00
Expenditures under the direction of the Department of Public Works for administrative services related to issuing permits for work conducted in the public way and for inspection of that work to ensure compliance with town standards.