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Westchester Officials Increase Security Following School Shooting Threats

There was an increased police presence outside New Rochelle High School.
There was an increased police presence outside New Rochelle High School. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

There will be increased security this week at New Rochelle schools following a series of alleged threats at the high school, including one on social media over the weekend.

New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Brian Osborne issued an alert to parents on Monday afternoon, outlining the recent threats and announcing the changes that will be made to security after consulting with the local police department.

On May 23, a New Rochelle custodian alerted district security of a graffiti threat that stated “we are gonna shoot up the school on June 5, 18” on the wall of a bathroom at the high school, prompting an investigation and increased police presence outside the building. No suspect has been identified regarding the initial threat.

A week later, parents reported a social media conversation about an alleged threat to school and law enforcement officials, which was deemed not to be credible.

On June 1, a second graffiti message stating “I’m going to shoot this school” was discovered on a different bathroom stall. An investigation into the threat led to the apprehension of a student, and Osborne said that the district is “taking appropriate disciplinary action,” and the threat is believed to be a hoax. “It appears possible, but not conclusive that the same student wrote the May 23 graffiti,” Osborne noted.

Over the weekend, on Sunday, June 3, a new alleged threat was made on Snapchat, warning students not to go to school, leading to an increased police presence outside of the high school and middle schools.

In response to the recent rash of threats, Osborne said that the police department and district “are taking steps to ensure student and staff safety at New Rochelle High School,” this week. Law enforcement officials will sweep the building when classes conclude on Monday and before they begin on Tuesday.

There will be two entrances open at the high school this week, one at the Embassy entrance on Clove Road and the other at the bridge entrance on the other side of the lakes from North Avenue. All bags of students and visitors will be searched on Tuesday as a precaution. Attendance will also be limited to students taking the Global History Regents or who have scheduled activities or review sessions. It will also be opened to freshmen taking the 9th grade history final in the afternoon.

“We request that everyone allow for some extra time for arrival so that there is time for entry into the school before the start of (exams),” Osborne added.

Osborne said that in addition, “the district’s Student Support Services Department will provide age-appropriate messages and talking points for staff to use with students to address any fears that students may have about social media messages or the increase in school shootings across the country.”

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