Bomb Scare Assures Safety in the High School
By CHLOE SHAKIN and AMANDA RITTER
Originally Published May 2012During one of Jericho’s most trying weeks, administrators, students, and faculty alike came together to support their community and assure safety within the District’s buildings. On Saturday afternoon, May 12, 2012, several students received threatening text messages from an anonymous number that insinuated that an explosive device had been planted in the high school building. District administrators received phone calls and emails from these concerned students and their parents. The administrators then called for an immediate lockdown and search of the school for any such device.
School officials swept the building over the weekend and found no trace of explosives. Superintendent Henry Grishman alerted students’ parents and faculty about the situation via email.
The threats sparked controversy over whether or not AP examinations would continue on Monday, May 14th. “I felt a little nervous, but I figured I’d be safe,” said AP biology student Brittany Reitman. All tests proceeded as planned without any disturbances.However, students not registered to take AP exams didn’t feel as pressured to attend school. Attendance was minimal during the start of the week. “I only had three people in one of my classes. My teachers debated whether or not to even teach,” said freshman Sam Newman.
English teacher Dr. Michael Hartnett said, “Since this occurred in the middle of AP week, it was unclear what reason students were out for. Wednesday and Thursday went back to normal, regarding attendance in my classes.”
From May 14th to the 18th, the school building was on lockdown. No students were allowed to leave their classes without a staff member accompanying them to either the bathroom or the nurse’s office. The halls were empty with only teachers stationed at each possible entrance, keeping vigil for anything out of the ordinary.
Students, parents, and visitors had their bags searched upon entrance to the building by security guards from Summit Security. The increased security strengthened feelings of safety within the school for many. “Even though I knew we were protected, I felt uncomfortable to come to work,” said math teacher Matthew DeMarinis. “It was a constant reminder of how one person can have such a profound impact on a group of people.”
The school district ended the lockdown once the suspect was arrested. The Nassau County Police Department released the following statement, “The fifteen year old is being charged with Making a Terroristic Threat, Falsely Reporting an Incident in the first degree and twelve counts of Aggravated Harassment in the second degree and he will be arraigned as a juvenile at Nassau County Family Court in Westbury.”
Superintendent Henry Grishman assured the community, “What’s important for the staff to know and the students to know is that we’re prepared. We will make sure this place is always safe for them.”