Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
Thirty-one days after terror struck Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Elmont Memorial High School was locked down due to a 911 call that brought back unwanted memories of a sunny Dec. 14 that turned dark in an instant. Luckily in Nassau County, it was a toy that brought about the lockdown – not the real thing.
The high school was locked down early Tuesday morning on Jan. 15 after a suspicious person was seen putting what looked like a gun in a backpack, according to police. A four-hour search ensued, with police finding an air-powered Nerf toy lever-action pistol.
Nassau County Police said a person called 911 at about 7:40 a.m. and reported seeing a male teenager walk into the school with the toy. Authorities confirmed the gun was a lime green.
A SWAT team was also present. Students called their parents from the field behind the school, where many were evacuated, according to police.
Principal John Capozzi said four automated phone calls were dispatched to school parents, updating them on the developments throughout the lockdown.
“Once we secured the inside of the building, we moved the students from the outside of the building to the baseball field where more police responded and [students] were allowed into the cafeteria, where they were placed on lockdown there,” Capozzi stated, noting every student was fed.
Districts across Long Island practice lockdown drills throughout the year. Capozzi said hallways, which he estimated contained 1,500 students between classes, were cleared in less than one minute.
“It worked to perfection,” he said, commenting on student behavior and administrative implementation of lockdown procedures. “Kids knew exactly what to do, teachers knew exactly what to do.”
Sewanhaka Central High School District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie would not provide details about the student or whether he was reprimanded for bringing the toy to the school. About 24 police officers were outside the school as late as 10:40 a.m. police said.
Ferrie was onsite when the 911-call came in. He said he was in the building all day and that the district will continue to analyze current and future safety procedures.
“As a result of this incident, it did demonstrate that through the collaborative approach between the Nassau County Police Department and [the high school], specifically the building administration, staff, teachers and the students, our security and lockdown procedures work and that our students are safe,” Ferrie told the New Hyde Park Illustrated News.
The incident occurred on the same day state legislators in Albany were hammering out details to pass stricter New York State gun laws. The bill expands the state’s existing ban on assault weapons and makes it illegal for a mentally ill person to own a firearm.
Ferrie stated high school staff addressed the students concerning the incident. “Students practiced [the security procedures] and we’re continuing to self-reflect and look at ways we can always improve,” said Ferrie. “What we saw were the security procedures and the lockdown drills in place and they worked.”
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Sewanhaka Central High School District voters rejected a $99.5 million bond on Wednesday, Dec. 4 that would have funded extensive repairs and upgrades to the district’s five high schools. District residents voted against the plan, 2,705-2,412.
Forty percent of the bond would have been covered by state aid. The bond would have cost every taxpayer $144.26 annually.
“There’s not a whole lot you can say at this point,” said Joan Romagnoli, the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park representative on the Sewanhaka school board. “I’m disappointed. The administration worked tirelessly. Their outreach in the community was solid.”
Last Updated (Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:08) Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
The first-grade classes at Hillside Grade School recently held its Thanksgiving Feast. The students made “apple turkeys,” recited poetry, sang songs, and made butter for their corn muffins. During class, they learned about the first Thanksgiving and how children long ago lived.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
Students at Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Avenue in Williston Park recently participated in the studios 33nd Black Belt Graduation.
“Our goal at Charles Water’s Karate & Fitness is to facilitate mental growth enabling our students to reach their highest potential as human beings,” says Grandmaster Charles Water owner and director of the school. “Our studio teaches students how to defend themselves responsibly while instilling self-confidence, self-discipline and respect for others.”
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The foundation for character building and success starts at home. The schools and role models that impact your child’s life assist in reinforcing the aspirations that you have for your child’s development and future.
Children learn this is Karatatot, a unique program offered by Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Avenue in Williston Park. Karatatot is a combination of exercise and karate in a format specifically designed for children ages 4½ and up. In a fun filled and nurturing setting your children learn concentration, discipline, respect, as well as an understanding of self defense at his or her own level. Children learn child safety and stranger training. They are becoming better students at school and better listeners at home.